JERUSALEM — Father Baret Yeretzian, Real Estate Director of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, has sent an open letter to the Head of the Palestinian higher Presidential Committee for Churches Affairs in Palestine, responding to accusation leveled against the Armenian Patriarchate for leasing a property in Jerusalem’s Old City known as the Cow’s Garden to an Israeli hotel company.

Following is the text of the open letter:

The Honorable
Dr. Ramzi Khouri
Head of the Palestinian higher Presidential Committee for Churches Affairs in Palestine.

Re: The Armenian Parking Project and Hotel

The Armenian Patriarchate is the exclusive owner of its property and shall remain so at all times, the Patriarchate’s ownership was not undermined under the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate, the Jordanian and the Israeli regimes.

The un-protected lease is for a limited period of time and for the specific purpose of a hotel.

The Patriarchate has full authority and exclusive prerogative to do as it pleases with its properties.

The denomination and race of the counter party is irrelevant. The Patriarchate was negotiating similar deals indiscriminately with Armenians from Russia, with an Arab from Jordan, and people of other nationalities none of whom followed through.

It is our duty to utilize our properties for the welfare of our Patriarchate and we have been doing so for centuries.

Irresponsible comments that are made public might encourage extremists to take extreme measures. One should also remember that he might be held responsible for such consequences.

You claim that you want to protect our land, let me remind you when we begged your committee to help us against the Abu Hawa family who infiltrated in our property on Mount of Olives, you turned blind eye on us, we did request also others without mentioning their names, they did the same.

We cannot help suspecting that your criticism against us is aimed to undermine and weaken the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem, in favor of your own religious leadership who sold properties in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Armenian Patriarchate maintains its neutrality and un-involvement in political and racial matters. Please do not drag us into such disputes and do not use us in order to promote your political agenda.

Let me remind you we hold in highest esteem and sympathy the Palestinian and Jordanian people, and I have the honor of being a Jordanian citizen myself.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021
Sincerely yours,
Father Baret Yeretzian,
Real Estate Director of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem

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