Israeli radical extremist groups are targeting and hijacking the character of Jerusalem for Christian pilgrims who visit each year.
By Jeff Wright | Mondoweiss | Apr 8, 2022
“The seizure of the Little Petra Hotel by the radical extremist group Ateret Cohanim is a threat to the continued existence of a Christian Quarter in Jerusalem.”
— Greek Orthodox Patriarch Beatitude Theophilos III
On Sunday evening, March 27, radical members of an extremist settler group were accompanied by Israeli police as they took control of the Little Petra Hotel in the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem. Located near the Jaffa Gate in occupied East Jerusalem, the hotel is the subject of a years-long and as-yet undecided legal battle between the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Ateret Cohanim, a settler group which describes itself as “the leading urban land reclamation organization in Jerusalem, which has been working for over 40 years to restore Jewish life in the heart of ancient Jerusalem.” The group seeks to increase Jewish settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, illegal under international law.
Two days later, Greek Orthodox Patriarch Beatitude Theophilos III organized a press conference to address the settlers having illegally entered and barricaded themselves in the hotel. The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem and other religious leaders attended the briefing during which they expressed their outrage and their support for the Greek Orthodox Church. Then they marched to the hotel to draw the world’s attention to what, in a statement read at the press conference, Theophilos described as “a pattern of intimidation, violence and lawless action to drive Christians and Muslims from the city we share.”