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Erekat condemns Israeli aggression against Coptic priests

Oct. 24, 2018 4:32 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 25, 2018 3:55 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Executive Committee, Saeb Erekat, strongly condemned the coward and brutal aggression committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Coptic priests and members of the community early this morning.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli forces and police assaulted several Coptic priests in front of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, and forcefully detained one of them, during a peaceful protest organized by the Coptic Orthodox Church against an Israeli decision denying the church the right to conduct the needed renovation work inside the holy site.

The PLO Negotiations Affairs Department issued a statement "This blatant violation at the entrance of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in occupied East Jerusalem comes only a week after PM Netanyahu lied claiming that Israel protects Christians."

The statement stressed, "Today's attack is not an isolated case, yet it clearly shows the world the real status of Christianity under the Israeli occupation. The recently passed 'Jewish Nation-State law,' which denies full rights to non-Jews, is an embodiment of the systematic Israeli racism, incitement, and continued attacks on Christian and Muslim Holy Sites."

The Coptic Orthodox Church has had a continuous presence in Palestine since at least the 4th Century and is an integral part of the Palestinian social fabric.

The Copts have suffered from various Israeli policies, including forcible transfer and displacement, confiscation of property, and the daily humiliation of living under the Israeli occupation.

"The Israeli violations of international law and human rights in occupied East Jerusalem have in fact been a daily reality for the occupied Palestinian population for over 50 years. Israel continues to control, attack, demolish, evict and to threat the very Palestinian presence and identity of Jerusalem."

The statement stressed, "The Trump Administration continues to provide full support to the Israeli occupation and annexation of the city as well as to the resulting continued attacks against the Palestinian people in Jerusalem."

“Hence, the European countries that have historically been responsible for the protection of the Christian communities in Jerusalem in accordance with the status quo, should take immediate action towards holding Israel accountable by all available legal means in accordance to international law and norms, the statement concluded."

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