JERUSALEM (Noyan Tapan–Al-Quds)–Over the past few days–the Israeli army has seized lands and properties belonging to the Armenian Patriarchate in the Barun Dayr area north of the Ayidah refugee camp in Bethlehem and south of Al-Tantur on the pretext of erecting the separation fence between the Palestinian areas and Jerusalem.
Maj-Gen Yitzhaq Eytan–the military commander of the West Bank–and Defense Ministry Director Gen. Amos Yaron issued military orders confiscating the Patriarchate lands. Mazin Qubati–the Patriarchate’s attorney–told Al-Quds that these measures are aimed at seizing the Patriarchate’s headquarters–which is used for worship–and turn it into the Israeli army’s headquarters. He said that the Patriachate’s representatives held intensive contacts over the past two weeks with the Israeli Defense Ministry and army in a bid to convince them to annul the military orders–but they have not agreed. He added that as a result of the intransigent Israeli position and the dead end reached in the negotiations on the matter–the Patriarchate decided to petition the Israeli High Court of Justice to revoke the orders and appeal to local and international public opinion. He affirmed the Patriarchate’s total rejection of a separation fence running through its lands.
On July 16–answering the question of mass media if any steps are being taken by the Armenian Foreign Ministry concerning the seizure of lands in the Barun Dayr area by the Israeli army on the pretext of erecting the separation fence between the Palestinian areas and Jerusalem–Press Secretary of Armenian Foreign Ministry Dziunik Aghajanian said–"We closely follow the developmen’s in Israel concerning the seizure of lands belonging to Armenian Patriarchate. At the present moment we are working with Israeli authorities through diplomatic channels in order to find out the real reasons and the aims of the actions of Israeli army."