301-am, 1 November 2023
On May 10, the defrocked priest Khachig Yeretzian (formerly known as Fr.Baret) fled Jerusalem and the Armenian Quarter after it was revealed he had authorized a lease for the “Cows’ Gardens” (Goverou Bardez) to a Jewish Australian businessman for a period of 99 years.
A few days ago, demolition began at the site despite the Armenian community protesting the leasing of Armenian properties.
The Chancellery of the Armenian Patriarchate released a communiqué which demanded the immediate cancellation of the agreement.
Correspondent Kegham Balian interviewed his brother, activist and founding member of Save The ArQ, a movement tasked with the defense and preservation of the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem.
What is the significance of this statement/communiqué?
This statement is the first statement since the signing of the deal that officially states that the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem is attempting to actually cancel this ridiculous and outrageous deal.
However, this statement does not mean that the deal has been cancelled. The complete cancellation requires time, negotiations, legal proceedings, etc. We still have a long way to go, the struggle has just begun.
What is the move forward?
We can finally put an end to the internal conflict between the patriarchate and the community in order to unite our efforts in canceling this deal.
We have already begun cooperating on multiple levels with the Patriarchate to ensure that we are on the same page with the same objectives.
What is your message to Armenians?
We will bring back this land, we will fight against all other unlawful deals. We will end this vicious cycle of incompetent and treacherous management. We will preserve, protect, and develop the Armenian Patriarchate, the Armenian Quarter, and the Armenian community in the Holy Land. Our victory shall be a beacon of hope and light to the entire Armenian Nation. Our victory shall prove the strength of Armenian unity to the world.