Photo Credit: Jewish Press graphic
European Union flag superimposed upon Palestinian Authority flag, reflecting the EU's anti-Israel bias
EU and Palestinians tweeted, “EUREP, MS & like-minded states attended a meeting with the heads of churches to discuss the ongoing settler occupation of the Little Petra hotel at the entrance of the Christian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem, owned by the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate. Urge Israeli authorities to immediately deescalate the situation and take measures to fully protect the presence and heritage of the Palestinians and Christian community in East Jerusalem.”

Haaretz reported earlier this week:

Following an 18-year legal battle, members of a settler organization have moved into the Petra Hotel in Jerusalem’s Old City.

Currently, Ateret Cohanim occupies only part of the Petra Hotel. Located near Jaffa Gate, the hotel is one of two large buildings the organization bought from the previous Greek Orthodox patriarch, Irenaios, in a controversial deal. The other is the nearby Imperial Hotel.

When the deal came to light in 2005, it sparked a major crisis within the local branch of the Greek Orthodox church that culminated in Irenaios’ unprecedented dismissal. His replacement, Theophilos III, then tried to repudiate the deal and get it overturned.

But the Jerusalem District Court, and later the Supreme Court, ratified it, despite concluding that there were “shadows and black holes in the moves that led to the agreement’s signing.” Among other things, it was proven that Ateret Cohanim had paid a church official.

Sunday morning, Ateret Cohanim members entered the building’s first floor under police escort. Under the terms of the lease, this floor is separate from the rest of the hotel, which is why the organization was able to take possession.

While the article notes some accusations of questionable conduct by Ateret Cohanim in regard to other property purchases, the purchase itself was 100% legal and they have every right to take possession.


But the EU, so concerned about the law when it can be interpreted against Israel, wants it to be ignored when it supports the position of Jews. Buying a building and moving in is “settler occupation,” and of course all “settler occupation” is illegal.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate is trying to incite violence over this, by “warning” that Jews buying property is likely to cause violence:

This act is extremely dangerous as it regards community relations on the ground. Acting in this illegally aggressive manner against a known Christian property and an Arab business –particularly ahead of Easter and Ramadan – could likely ignite local hostilities similar to what was witnessed last year in Sheikh Jarrah. Not to mention the timing that Mati Dan and his organisation, Ateret Cohanim, are choosing on the eve of Secretary Blinken’s arrival in the region.

In response to this illegal activity, local residents, business owners, and priests are demanding definitive action. Patriarch Theophilos III has been consulting heavily with the Council of Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem and receiving counsel from all sides. The Church is doing all that it can to stop these actions, protect the tenants, and come to a lawful and peaceful resolution. However, there is tremendous pressure to address these actions in a powerful way. The Church fears certain actions could quickly escalate and ignite a very turbulent scenario in the Old City.

This is a typical Palestinian response – not to call on Palestinians to be calm but to “warn” that what Jews do can cause Palestinians to turn violent. The racist subtext is that Jews want to avoid violence and Palestinians naturally engage in it.

The hotel itself looks like a dump. TripAdvisor reviews tell horror stories and show photos that are stomach-turning.

Ateret Cohanim probably paid millions for this fleabag motel whose previous owners wouldn’t invest a dime in it.

In any other city, the property would be condemned and the owners fined.
As usual, no one shows interest in these properties until Jews do. Then they suddenly become holy places of utmost importance to the future of the free world.

{Reposted from the EoZ blog}


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