By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
The Palestinian Authority considers the Armenian Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem an integral part of east Jerusalem and won’t give up its claim to it, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Wednesday.
Abbas’s remark came during a meeting in his office in Ramallah with leaders of various Christian communities in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
Documents published by Al- Jazeera last month showed that PA negotiators had offered to relinquish any claim to the Jewish and Armenian Quarters in the Old City.
“The Palestinian leadership sticks to its position that considers the Armenian Quarter an integral part of east Jerusalem, the capital of the independent Palestinian state,” Abbas told the Christian leaders.
Abbas said that the PA was committed to supporting all Palestinian Christian communities and “enhancing their role in Palestinian society.” He added that the PA, together with some “friendly countries,” had endorsed a plan to renovate the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
The PA has established a special fund for renovating the church, Abbas disclosed.
He said his government was also prepared to support all projects that preserve the Christian presence in the Palestinian territories. In order to support local products, Abbas added, he had instructed the PA government to ban the import of items that are often bought by Christian pilgrims.