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Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre closes in protest at Israeli 'persecution'

Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulchre closes in protest at Israeli 'persecution'

Large crowds of tourists and pilgrims filed into the church throughout the morning.

The leaders of the Armenian Apostolic, Greek Orthodox, and Roman Catholic churches alleged that such moves are part of a conscious effort to slowly rid Jerusalem of Christians.

"The civil authorities have always recognized and respected the great contribution of the Christian churches, which invest billions in building schools, hospitals, and homes, many for the elderly and disadvantaged, in the Holy Land", a letter signed by 13 church leaders said this month.

In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said a professional team was being established to negotiate with church officials to "formulate a solution". Church leaders compared the measures to laws "enacted against the Jews during dark periods in Europe".

These sales actively pave the way for new waves of Israeli settlement in Jerusalem.

Both officials discussed the latest developments in relation to the Palestinian issue, Mahmoud Afifi, Secretary General's spokesman said in a press statement. There has also been a proposal in parliament that would allow the government to appropriate lands in Israel sold by churches to anonymous buyers since 2010.

Muslim doorkeeper Wajeeh Nuseibeh stands outside the closed Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City.

Pilgrims visit the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for two famous historical and Biblical landmarks: the place where Jesus was crucified and the tomb where He was resurrected.

It includes the transfer of other security and administrative responsibilities to the Arab authorities in Areas A and B. The capital of the Palestinian state would be in eastern Jerusalem.

Christians in Jerusalem are overwhelmingly Palestinians. Israel sees the whole city as its undivided capital.

Church leaders in Jerusalem shut the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

He said that while the bank accounts of the Franciscans had not been affected, some of the accounts of other churches, such as the Anglicans and the Assyrians, were frozen in mid-February. The Christians were also against a land expropriation law which is supposed to be tabled in the Knesset. Mr Barkat may also have hoped to put pressure on the finance ministry to help cover a local budget deficit.

They said they looked forward to bargaining with the government committee "to ensure that our holy city, where our Christian presence continues to face challenges, remains a place where the three monotheistic faiths may live and thrive together".


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