Atallah Hanna, the archbishop of Sebastian Roman Orthodox, stated today that the ancient Orthodox real estate in the area of Jaffa Gate is under serious threat, and that extremist settlers may seize these properties at any time. "We might witness the same scenario of the building of Saint John the Beloved in the Old City, to which the settlers were allowed years ago, again here in Jaffa Gate."
"This is a new and renewed calamity targeting our ancient Orthodox estates in Jerusalem. The seizure of Jaffa Gate and its buildings means further weakening, and marginalising Christian presence in Jerusalem," he declared.
"We have been addressing appealing letters to the rest of the world over the past months, calling for a move to stop this impending catastrophe threatening Jaffa Gate, but we have not yet seen any serious action or any initiatives aimed to break this deal, concluded by the unworthy and submitted to the unworthy. "
Bishop Atallah explained "those allowing these takeovers are betraying the Church and Jerusalem, and are no better than Judas Iscariot, who betrayed his teacher for 30 silver coins. Unfortunately, others betraying their teachers and Christianity for some dollars still exist, and they are becoming tools serving the enemies for Jerusalem, its sanctities and holy, Islamic and Christian endowments."
"We shall warn again against the danger of the schemes targeting Jaffa Gate, for the news reported by media foreshadows the impending disaster. Settlers may storm the ancient Jaffa Gate buildings at any time. We may wake up one day to find the settlers in these buildings with the Israeli flag raised on top of them," he warned.
"We shall reiterate our call to King Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, the Hashemite custodian of Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian holy sites, as well as the Palestinian president, Abu Mazen, to work to break this deal and preserve the identity and history of Jerusalem, and the Christian presence in this blessed city. We shall also address all world leaders, Islamic and Christian religious authorities and advocates of justice and human rights defenders in our world, urging them to stop this impending catastrophe threatening Jaffa Gate and its ancient Orthodox buildings, the leading gate to the holy sites, monasteries, churches and ancient patriarchates in Jerusalem. "
"Take action before it is too late. Do not let Jerusalem bleed alone, its endowments stolen and sanctities targeted. Move before it is too late. Our Christian presence in Jerusalem has become endangered. Targeting us, our holy sites and endowments is targeting all Jerusalem without exception."