Officials Say Occupation in Jerusalem Not Serious

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–In connection with the occupation of the territories of the Armenian Patriarchy of Jerusalem by the Israeli army–the Embassy of Israel in Armenia’stated that the matter does not concern a permanent seizure of territories–but it is a temporary occupation pursuing security goals. This was announced by Head of the Department on Middle East Countries of the Armenian Foreign Ministry Karen Mirzoyan during a roundtable discussion of this problem on July 17. The discussion was organized by the "Oukht" (Union) of National Union. The panel discussion was attended by representatives of academic circles–creative unions of Armenia–well-known historians–writers–painters and artists.

The occupation of the Armenian Church’s territories was called "an aggression."This is a continuing aggression against the Armenian people," said well-known writer Perch Zeytounchian. Prof. Samvel Muradian expressed the opinion that such an attitude of Israel towards the Armenian state and people is not new. According to him–an anti-Armenian policy is being consistently pursued in Israel where materials discrediting the Armenian people and articles distorting Armenian-Jewish relations are published through mass media.

The participants in the discussion expressed their fear that the temporary occupation of the territories will become permanent–as it happened to Jerusalem–which–in fact–is part of the State of Israel–although does not belong to it according to official documen’s.

Many of the speakers linked the developmen’s in Israel with the growing anti-Armenian movement in Russia. Karen Aghamian–the Chairman of the Union of Painters of Armenia–thinks that these are links in a single chain of political processes which have not been properly assessed yet.

Some accused the Armenian authorities of failing to take tough measures to defend their own nation and values belonging to it.

The meeting adopted an appeal addressed to President of Armenia Robert Kocharian–Catholicos of All Armenia’s Karekin II and Catholicos of the Great House of Cilicia Aram I–as well as to the entire Armenian nation. The appeal–in particular–deman’s that the Government of Armenia’should resort to actions adequate to those taken in the event of a sudden aggression on the part of another state.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry’s position was presented by Karen Mirzoyan. He gave assurances that the situation in Jerusalem is in the center of the Ministry’s attention and the ministry is conducting negotiations with the Israeli Embassy in Armenia. He said that explanations were received from the Israeli Embassy according to which the occupied territory of the Armenian Patriarchy in Jerusalem is required for the construction of a special wall to separate the Palestinian and Israeli areas. He also expressed the opinion that one should take his time–for clear information about the real state of affairs is necessary for taking certain steps and determining the international norms within which to act.

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