We condemn in the strongest terms the coward and brutal aggression committed by the Israeli occupying forces against the Coptic priests and members of the community early this morning. This blatant violation at the entrance of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in occupied East Jerusalem comes only a week after PM Netanyahu lied claiming that Israel protects Christians.
Today's attack is not an isolated case, yet it clearly shows the world the real status of Christianity under the Israeli occupation. The recently passed "Jewish Nation-State law", which denies full rights to non-Jews, is an embodiment of the systematic Israeli racism, incitement, and continued attacks on Christian and Muslim Holy Sites, including last week’s desecration of the Beit Jamal Catholic cemetery.
The Coptic Church has had a continuous presence in Palestine since at least the 4th Century and is an integral part of the Palestinian social fabric. The Copts have suffered as Palestinians from various Israeli policies, including forcible transfer and displacement, confiscation of property, and the daily humiliation of living under the Israeli occupation. This is a continuation of Israeli interference in the Status-Quo of the Holy Sites as well as an aggression against the peoples of Egypt and Palestine.
The Israeli violations of international law and human rights in occupied East Jerusalem have in fact been a daily reality for the occupied Palestinian population for over 50 years. Israel continues to control, attack, demolish, evict, and to threat the very Palestinian presence and identity of Jerusalem. Just today, about ten Israeli military vehicles besieged the Governorate of Jerusalem, located in Al-Ram in the northeast of Jerusalem, closing the main roads leading to the offices and harassing employees.
The Trump Administration continues to provide full support to the Israeli occupation and annexation of the city as well as to the resulting continued attacks against the Palestinian people in Jerusalem. Hence, the European countries that have historically been responsible for the protection of the Christian communities in Jerusalem in accordance with the status quo, should take immediate action towards holding Israel accountable by all available legal means in accordance to international law and norms.