WASHINGTON, DC — The US does not want to see the Government of Israel take any steps that would escalate tensions, US Department of State Spokesperson Matthew Miller said, asked to comment on the situation in the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, Miller was asked to respond to the concerns expressed by top authorities in the Armenian Quarter that the Israeli Government was using the conflict in Gaza to push out a lot of Armenian Christians from the Armenian Quarter.

“No specific response to that. But as we have said on a number of occasions, we do not want to see the Government of Israel take any steps that would escalate tensions,” Miller responded.

The Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem said it was facing an “existential threat” after a violent attack last week which it attributed to an Israeli-Australian businessman’s efforts to acquire a property owned by the patriarchate – the Cows’ Garden. The patriarchate had leased the property to the businessman who seeks to build a hotel there, but then cancelled the agreement and applied to court for validation. Some two weeks after appealing to court, the patriarchate issued a statement saying the developer who sought to buy some 25 percent of the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem ignored a letter by the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem cancelling the controversial real estate deal and started demolition works, and moreover police demand that all members of the Armenian Community vacate the premises.

Armenian seminarians and clerics were attacked by a violent mob during a vigil held at the Cows’ Garden on December 28.

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