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Christian Monks Beaten by Israeli Police at Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Video footage has emerged  showing Israeli police abusing a group of Coptic Orthodox monks who were lawfully protesting outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in East Jerusalem’s Old City.

The footage reveals Israeli forces brutally dragging Macarius Orshalemy along the ground before forcibly pinning him down and handcuffing him. Watch:

الاعتداء على الخوارنه الاقباط في ساحة كنيسة هذا الصباحالقيامه

Posted by Hanna Jasser on Tuesday, October 23, 2018


Middle East Eye reports…

Tens of Coptic monks were beaten by Israeli military police on Wednesday during a protest over the contested al-Sultan monastery on the site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the head of Jerusalem’s Coptic Church told Middle East Eye.

The monks were staging a sit-down protest in the plaza of the church in Jerusalem’s Old City to oppose Israeli-led restoration works at the site which they say favour Ethiopian monks living in the monastery.

One monk, Macarius Orshalemy, was dragged and pinned to the ground by the military police at the protest, while others were struck with batons as they sought to obstruct workers from Israel’s Antiquity Authority moving restoration materials and tools inside.


Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (Image Source: Wikicommons)

Orshalemy was released half an hour after the Coptic Church asked the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv to interfere, Coptic Bishop Anba Antonius told MEE.

“The Israelis are carrying out a restoration in the Coptic church’s property without our consent, and in favour of the Ethiopian monks. That’s why we were protesting and tried to prevent them,” Antonius said.

47-year dispute

The al-Sultan monastery sits on top of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and it is currently controlled and managed by the Ethiopian Church in Jerusalem, despite an Israeli high court ruling in 1971 that affirmed the Egyptian Coptic Church’s ownership over the monastery.

Antonius said that the Coptic Church would go to court to stop the Israeli-led restoration inside al-Sultan and ask for the high court decision to be implemented.

“We have 23 property documents issued since 1680 and until 1961 by the Ottoman Empire and some by Jordan, that proves our ownership of al-Sultan monastery. The high court decision said that a committee should be formed to study these documents, but after 47 years no committee was formed,” Antonius said.

In 1970, the Israeli authorities broke into Al-Sultan and kicked out the Coptic monks. They changed the door locks and gave the keys to Ethiopian monks who were already living in the monastery.

Antonius said that this was a “retaliation” against Egypt which fought against Israel in the 1967 Middle Eastern war when Israel occupied the West Bank including the Old City of Jerusalem.

Known as Deir es-Sultan by local people, the monastery has several rooms for monks and two chapels: the Chapel of the Angel and the Chapel of the Four Beasts.

In September 2017, the ceiling of the Angel chapel collapsed after a restoration work in a property above it, which belongs to the Greek Orthodox church, went wrong.

The Angel chapel, a pilgrimage and tourist site on the ninth station of the cross, was shut down for safety reasons by Israeli authorities.

Antonius said that the Coptic church signed a contract with a construction firm to restore the chapel’s ceiling, but the Israeli government refused to issue a permit for the restoration works.

“[Israel’s prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu himself issued the order to forcibly restore the chapel a week ago, I have been told by [David Azulai] the minister of religious services,” Antonius said…

Continue this story at MEE

READ MORE ISRAEL NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Israel Files

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