Armenian Church in Jerusalem Caught in Palestinian-Israeli Conflict (Part I)

By Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, 2 April 2009

The following is part of a discussion that took place in 24 April Forum. The author's permission is obtained to post it in Keghart.com

Since to support or not to support the Armenian Church in Armenia has become one of this week's topics, allow me to take a strand from that topic and run with it. I am referring to the Armenian Church in Jerusalem. By the way, the subject of assistance to the St. James Monastery in Jerusalem came out–in passing–at one of our recent Armenian social meetings.
 
As an Armenian, and as a former Jerusalemite, I would like to bring to your attention the financial straits the St. James Monastery has gone through since 1948.

By Jirair Tutunjian, Toronto, 2 April 2009

The following is part of a discussion that took place in 24 April Forum. The author's permission is obtained to post it in Keghart.com

Since to support or not to support the Armenian Church in Armenia has become one of this week's topics, allow me to take a strand from that topic and run with it. I am referring to the Armenian Church in Jerusalem. By the way, the subject of assistance to the St. James Monastery in Jerusalem came out–in passing–at one of our recent Armenian social meetings.
 
As an Armenian, and as a former Jerusalemite, I would like to bring to your attention the financial straits the St. James Monastery has gone through since 1948.

In recent years the situation has worsened for a number of reasons: Pressure from the Israeli Occupational presence; encroachments by illegal settlers, the diversion of Diaspora financial assistance to Armenia and to Artsakh; to several financial shenanigans–if not outright theft by insiders.
 
Armenians are justly proud of our significant presence in Jerusalem. Almost one-sixth of historic Old Jerusalem belongs to the Armenian Church, headquartered in the St. James Monastery. In addition to the cathedral, the monastery has several churches, two school (one of them an important seminary), social clubs, a huge and vital library, printing presses, etc. all within the monastery compound. In addition, the monastery is surrounded by Armenian Church-owned residential areas, shops, and the police station. Most of the residential area is occupied by the kaghakatsi–Armenians who have resided for centuries in Jerusalem.
 
For more than a millennia our forefathers have maintained our impressive presence in the Holy Land. A great deal of these properties were bought and maintained through the donations of pilgrims and Diaspora benefactors in Istanbul, Aleppo, India and elsewhere. In recent times, assistance has come from the Gulbenkian Foundation, the Armenian General Benevolent Union, private donations–mostly from North America. Former Jerusalemite Armenians have also supported the monastery.
 
What we have in the St. James Monastery is perhaps the most valuable real estate in the world. It's priceless.
 
While we continue to help our Hayastan, let's not forget Jerusalem. The occupational forces have already made some minor land grabs. If we are not watchful, we might lose more to colonialist, land-greedy settlers. Israelis should be aware of our deep commitment to the Armenian Church and population.
 
We should start a formal program to assist the monastery financially. This should be accompanied by transparency and accountability rules. Experience has demonstrated that corruption and theft (even by the clergy) are ever-present temptations.
 
The present Patriarch (Torkom Manoogian) is old and is ailing. The monastery is being managed by his second in command. The transition from Patriarch Torkom's tenure to the next Patriarch could be stressful. Let's keep our eyes on Jerusalem, lest we lose our 1,500-year-old patrimony.
 
It would be good idea to make a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It would show local Armenians that we stand behind them, and indicate to the Israelis that the Armenian community of Palestine is not an orphan. Besides, whether you are a pilgrim or a tourist, the city and the Holy Land offer numerous attractive sites, sights and experiences.

Before citing the reasons, let me point out that the Patriarch, as head of the St. James Brotherhood, is the "manager" of the Armenian Quarter. The Armenian Quarter includes the St. James Monastery. Everything within the Quarter belongs to the Armenian Church. The Patriarch operates the Armenian Quarter with the assistance of the St. James Brotherhood.
 
We have to help the St. James Monastery Brotherhood (the Patriarchate) and the Armenian Quarter for the following reasons:
 
1. Because of its size and character, the Armenian Quarter is a "Little Armenia". While we have had a number of "Little Armenias" elsewhere, this is the longest lasting and most valuable because it's in Jerusalem. Again and again, Armenian Diaspora communities have mushroomed and eventually expired. Our Jerusalem presence has lasted since the 5th century. It's truly a permanent part of our nation.
 
2. Because the Armenian Patriarchate controls or partly controls some of the holiest shrines of Christendom. The Patriarchate owns/controls parts of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the Garden of Gethsemane, and a number of other churches and real estate outside the Quarter in Palestine and in Israel. If the Patriarchate dissolves, these assets would disappear with it.
 
3. The Patriarchate includes a seminary. For the past 70 years the seminary has educated hundreds of clergymen. The graduates of the seminary are now parish priests/bishops/primates of numerous churches around the world, including in Armenia. Other than the Antelias seminary, it's the only one in Diaspora, I believe. Most of the Diaspora clergy observing the supremacy of St. Etchmiadzin are graduates of the St. James Seminary.
 
4. A great many Jerusalemite Armenians make their living by working in a variety of capacities (teachers, secretaries, real estate managers, cooks, printers, painters, contractors, carpenters, etc.) for the Patriarchate. If we lose the Patriarchate, we would lose the Armenian community.

Of all the countries in the world, the easiest place to get a U.S. visa is in Jerusalem/West Bank. I am in no position to confirm this… but the word is that to reduce the number of non-Jews in the Holy Land, Uncle Shmuel (to assist its ally Israel) makes it easy for non-Jews to get U.S. Green Cards. The community can vanish within a few years if the Patriarchate disappears.
 
5. At the St. Toros Church, inside the monastery, we have the world's second-largest (after Armenia) collection of Armenian illuminated manuscripts. This Medieval treasure trove of our church-heritage-history is priceless. When Levon Der Bedrossian visited Israel-Palestine some years ago, the first place he wanted to see was St. Toros. He knew about the manuscripts. Since Old Jerusalem was illegally annexed, Israel considers the city a part of Israel. We couldn't take out the manuscripts from Jerusalem to Armenia, for example. Israel might make claims to it as part of Israeli national heritage.
 
6. The Monastery's treasury holds the relics of saints, in addition to a rich collection of the crowns, vestments, scepters, rings, and jewellery of Cilician kings and nobility. Despite the difficult times it has gone through and despite the high value these antique items would fetch at Sotheby's and elsewhere, the Monastery has held them on behalf of our nation.
 
7. The Gulbenkian Madentaran. In addition to countless books in Armenian (old and new), the madenataran has the biggest collection of Diaspora publications from 1929 on. It's a vital source for scholars researching Armenian history and culture.
 
8. Despite its importance, the St. James Monastery and the Armenian Quarter operate with a miniscule budget of a few million dollars per annum. We know of Armenian-owned houses in North America, which are worth a million and change. We can help maintain the priceless St. James Monastery with a relatively insignificant amount of funds.
 
9. For hundreds of years, our ancestors–at great cost and even physical danger–have travelled as pilgrims to the Holy Land. It was through their donations that the Patriarchate was able to enlarge its presence in the Holy Land and to buy land. Purchasing land patiently, yard by yard through the centuries, we were able to solidify our presence in the city. This was a national effort: Pilgrims (many of them peasants) from Van to Izmir, from Adana to Dikranagerd brought their hard-earned mejides (Ottoman currency) to preserve the Little Armenia of Jerusalem. To dismiss the millennia-old sacrifices and devotion would be a sin against our church, our nation and our patriotic ancestors.
 
Traditionally, the Greeks have had the lion's share of Holy Land's sacred sites because the Byzantines ruled the country before the Arab conquest. The Roman Catholics gained ground during the Crusades and the Protestants much later. As rivalries flared among the various congregations, the Greeks had the Russians as their patrons; the Roman Catholics had the Pope, France, Spain, etc. The Protestants had Germany, Britain, and the United States. Armenians had no godfather-protector, other than the Armenian amiras in Constantinople.

Despite our weak political position vis-à-vis the other Churches, we defended our turf and didn't give in an inch. To outsiders, to the self-righteous "holier-than-thou" crowd, to those who don't know the history of Jerusalem, the inter-church conflicts seem childish, ridiculous and humiliating. They might change their minds if they learned that inch-for-inch Jerusalem is the most precious real estate on the globe. And Armenians have a large chunk of it. We should be proud of that fact, and be willing to support its continuance.

To get an idea of the importance of Holy Land sacred sites, consider the following fact:
 
The Crimean War was the result of a fight between Greek vs. Roman Catholic clergy in the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem. The Russians sided with the Greeks; France, Britain, and Savoy sided with the Roman Catholics.
 
10. Anyone who picks up a book about Jerusalem, anyone who visits Jerusalem is struck by the tremendous presences of Armenians in the city. Although our numbers are not large, our geographic presence is breathtaking. People are impressed by the Armenian might in Jerusalem. We make an impression as a nation. People who confuse us with Albanians or Romanians stop doing so. Millions of people have visited Jerusalem in the past 50 years. I bet every one of them realized that there is a nation called Armenian. This bestows an incalculable prestige to a small-in-numbers nation like ours.
 
Since I consider the Armenian Quarter of Jerusalem as an unofficial part of Armenia, I would like to see the government in Yerevan lend a helping hand to Armenian Jerusalem.
 

To review the rest of the discussion please click here  Part II

 

15 comments
  1. I have long been interested

    I have long been interested in the Patriarch of Jerusalem. I’ve long wondered why there is the lack of an active communication link to this site. The lack of awareness throughout the diaspora can be a strong reason why we are not solidified in our efforts to support the activites in Jerusalem. And while I am commenting, I must wonder why our brothers at San Lazarro haven’t opened up its portals to the rest of the outside world?

    1. Portals?

      Hi Darwin, what do you mean by

      opened up its portals to the rest of the outside world

  2. The Armenian Church in Jerusalem
    I would like to compliment and thank Jirair Tutunjian for his informative and passionate commentary on the Armenian presence in Jerusalem. He is absolutely correct… this a jewel we must not forget.
    As an active member of the Armenian Church, I know that our diocese has made this issue much more visible to Armenian-Americans. As Christians, there is tremendous identify for Armenians to trace our enlightenment to Christ’s disciples and to have a significant presence for centuries in the very center of Christianity’s birth. I worry at times that we, today in the diaspora, do not always realize the awesome nature of the accomplishments and sacrifices of our forebearers; although we overtly enjoy the fruits of their efforts.

    Thank you for your commitment to raising our consciousness.

    1. The Armenian Church in Jerusalem
      Thank you for your compliment.. A few weeks ago, when Jerusalem-born historian Kevork Hintlian was in Montreal (invited by Bishop Pakrad), he called on all Armenians to show their support for Jerusalem. He stressed that our isolated and tiny community in the Holy Land is in dire need of Diaspora support. Visiting Jerusalem is one way to demonstrate to the Israeli
      authorities and to extremist Palestinians that the Armenian community is not an orphan, drifting with no purpose. I believe Mr. Hintlian called for a program whereby Diaspora Armenians would make organized visits to Jerusalem, offer their valuable knowledge and acumen to the Patriarchate. Doing organized volunteer work for short durations would be another way to assist the Patriarchate and the community.

  3. Armenian Church in Jerusalem

    Mr Tutunjian demonstrates how ignorance feeds paranoia. I am outraged that he refers to Jews who live in the Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem –adjacent to the Armenian Quarter– as "illegal settlers." Has he forgotten that the Jews in the Jewish Quarter were driven out in 1948 by the Arab Legion?? Then he refers to "occupational authorities." It seems that he has heard too much Arab and Western Judeophobic propaganda. If the Armenians could somehow recover cities like Van or Kharput or Nish, –or Mount Ararat– would he consider that "occupation" or "liberation" or "legitimate recovery" of national patrimony?? Well, Jerusalem became important to the world, and to the Armenian church because of events there in Jewish history and religion. The Bible in Armenian translation includes psalms of the Jewish yearning for Zion. He does know about that, doesn’t he?

    He ought to know also that Jews in Jerusalem were oppressed for more  than a thousand years by Arabs/Muslims as dhimmis. Maybe treated even worse in that place, our ancient and beloved city, than the Armenians there were treated.

    Furthermore, from an international legal standpoint, bear in mind that all of the Land of Israel was recognized as the Jewish National Home by the San Remo conference in 1920 and the League of Nations in 1922. The UN general assesmbly partition recommendation of 29 November 1947 did not change the status of the Jewish National Home..So, the areas that Israel recaptured in 1967 are not "occupied" but liberated or restored. The interpretation of "occupied" territory is an expression of Judeophobia by Arabs and various world powers, including the UK.

    Lastly, Tutunjian and others should be aware of the Armenian studies program at the Hebrew Universithy in Jerusalem. Further, the faculty club of the Hebrew University at Giv`at Ram has been the locus for several years of yearly commemorations of the Armenian genocide with participation of the leading clergymen of the Armenian church in Israel..
     

    1. Simply illegal

      Eliyahu, you have some valid points and I respect that.  But you need to consider the following:

      • Until the ‘liberation’ of Israel, Jews didn’t have a country, they used to live as a religious group and not until UK ‘gave’ them the land they call now Israel.
      • Palestinians were living in that land for 100s of years, how can you just ignore their rights and take over, they are a nation after all.
      • Let’s assume that you liberated your lands, how can you justify throwing people out of the homes that they lived through generations?
      • By International Law standards, you don’t have legal rights to those lands, they belong to the people of Palestine (and those who have deeds). 
      • If Israel didn’t have the backing of the West and it didn’t use force, the lands would be returned to their lawful owners, again by Law!
      • How can you justify the numerous accusations and claims against Israel about illegal arms, illegal war crimes, illegal occupations, etc. by the United Nations, International Human Rights Commussions and more?

      …and yes, Jews are also subject to laws, after all they should respect human rights.

    2. To facililitate Eliyahu’s
      To facililitate Eliyahu’s comprehension of my article, I will reply categorically to his letter.
       

      1. Some Armenian Patriarchate properties adjacent to the Jewish Quarter have been confiscated by Israel and illegal Jewish settlers since 1967. Since the Israeli government is prosecutor, jury and judge, it’s pointless to take these matters to Israeli courts. Besides, who can afford to challenge an all-powerful and vindictive Occupier? Every other day we read of Israeli Jews insulting Christian clergy, not to mention Christians in general. I wouldn’t be surprised if Moslem clergy get the same treatment.
       
      Mr. Eliyahu asks whether I have "forgotten that the Jews in the Jewish Quarter were driven out in 1948…" This is leger-de-main (slight of hand).
      I have not questioned Jewish rights to the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.
      My point is that when Jews rightfully occupied the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, they immediately began to expand by encroaching into the Armenian Quarter. Personal intimidation and insults (spitting) which are difficult to measure, are other regrettable acts of the Jewish neighbours of the few Armenians left in the city.
       
      Mr. Eliyahu’s attempts to impose parallels between the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank and Armenian legal rights to historic Armenia (now occupied by Turkey) want wash because there are numerous differences in the two narratives. For the sake of brevity, I will cite two obvious and major differences.
      1. –Turkey killed or drove Armenians out of historic Armenia.
          –Palestinian Arabs didn’t kill or drive Jews from Palestine two thousand years ago. It was the Romans who did so. And in recent times, it was the Israeli Jews who killed and drove out Arabs from Palestine.
      2. –The horrendous deeds of Turkey took place within our memory and at a time when such acts were internationally banned.
          –The exile of the Jews, by the Romans, although cruel, took place two millennia ago, and at a time when such brutal facts were the norm.
       
      Mr Eliyahu tries to twist the argument away from Israeli Jews vs Palestinian Arabs to Christians/Jews vs. Moslems. The conflict in Palestine is not about religion: It’s about nationhood and about who owns Palestine (including Israel)? We all know that in addition to indigenous Arabs who lived in Palestine before the 7th century, since the Arab conquest–for the past 1,400 years–Palestinian Arabs have been the overwhelming majority of the people living in Palestine. For example, when Zionism was launched, 95% of Palestinian (the lands that is) was owned by Arabs; the remaining were owned by Jews and Christians. 
       
      Zionists make a big production that at the turn of the 19th-20th century, the Jews were the largest ethnic group in the Old City. This is also a slight of hand. Many of the Jewish inhabitants of the Old City were there illegally. Although they had a three-month permit (a red card) to stay in Palestine, once they landed in the country, they were "lost" to the corrupt rulers… they disappeared in the Old City among their co-religionists/compatriots. Sometimes a few mejides to some Turkish official would extend their stay, which was opposed by the native Arabs.
       
      It’s also a well-known fact that Jews were treated more hospitably in Arab countries than they were in "civilized" Christian Europe. The significant anti-Jewish movement started in Arab countries only when Arabs realized that Zionists intended to take over Palestine. Subsequent to the creation of Israel, the anti-Jewish movement intensified as a political reaction to the occupation of Arab Palestine by European Jews. 
       
      I am grateful for the Armenian studies program at several Israeli scholarly institutions, but as an Armenian born in Palestine and as a human being I can’t accept the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.
       
      Since Mr. Eliyahu knows that we can write about this topic until the cows come home, I will summarize my stand on the Palestinian vs. Israeli conflict:
      1. Although the creation of Israel was illegal and unjust, I recognize Israel because it’s impossible, unrealistic, unjust and cruel to try to undo a state and exile its people. "Done is done," as the saying goes.
      2. Israel must return the West Bank, including the Old City of Jerusalem to the Palestinians. However, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem should become an internationally-recognized part of Israel with guaranteed and unhindered access from Israel.
      3. All post 1967 Jewish settlements in the West Bank should be evacuated, dismantled.
      4. Allowing the return of refugees to Israel is unrealistic, impossible, and it would make Jews a minority in Israel. I find that unacceptable. Instead, all refugees should be financially compensated for their loss. Zionist organizations, including Israel, the United States, the United Kingdom (the godfathers of Israel) should provide the funds.
       
      Otherwise, Mr. Eliyahu, the conflict will continue to perpetuity. Israeli land greed will mean interminable conflict. Give up the West Bank, I say to Israel, and assure a peaceful coexistence with Palestinians, with the Arab world, and with the majority of the countries in the world.

      Israel was created as a safe haven from anti-Semitism, but Israeli acts have fueled global anti-Semitism. You don’t want that; I don’t want that. While I am glad several Israeli scholars have taken up Armenian studies, I would like to bring to Mr. Eliyahu’s attention that Armenian scholars and clergy have been studying the Holy Bible, including the Jewish Bible for some 2,000 years.

      On a personal note, I would also like to mention two incidents which should be of interest to Mr. Eliyahu and to Jews in general.

      In the months preceding the War of 1948 there were frequent clashes between Jews and Palestinian Arabs. In between the clashes there were days, even weeks, of peace. During one of these peaceful interludes, two Jewish businessmen, who made the regular rounds of the Armenian Convent selling beauty products and light household goods, were walking near the Convent when armed Arab fighters began to chase them.

      The Jewish hawkers ran into the Convent with the Arabs in hot pursuit. The two men eventually stopped in front of our residence, to catch their breath. They then asked my mother if she would hide them in our house. My mother did so, and when the Arab pursuers came running in search of the two men, she gave them the wrong directions about the route the two men had taken so that they would get lost in the labirinthine alleys of the Convent. When the coast was clear, the two men came out of hiding. My mother also told them how to find their way back to safety, without being detected.

      Another incidence of Armenians helping Jews was on a much larger scale. When the Arab Legion conquered the besieged Jewish Quarter in Jerusalem, the Armenian Patriarchate and Armenians provided safe passage for the hundreds of the Jewish evacuees of the Jewish Quarter. The Patriarchate also offered them food and water. While the Jewish evacuees walked through the Armenian Quarter and to safety in the Israel side, residents of the Armenian Quarter also offered them food.

      Because of these acts of kindness, for years some Palestinian extremists called us "Arman khayneen" (Armenians are traitors).

      Jirair Tutunjian

  4. End the Unjust Arab Occupation of Jewish Land

    No Palestinian State – No land concessions.

    Imagine the various people who’ve settled in the United States for the past 230 years decided to parcel the United States into independent states just for them. Would the American public go for it? The answer is absolutely no.

    The situation in Israel today is no different. The Arabs are not Palestinians; there is no Arab state as Palestine or a nation called Palestinian people.

    European countries consist of various people from other countries. Would Europeans cede part of their countries to set up another state in their midst, to accommodate the newcomers? The answer is absolutely no.

    Archaeological excavations and historical data is the best proof that Israel belongs to Jews and to no other.

    All the Arabs in Israel and in the surrounding areas are from various Arab states, such as Jordan, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon and other Arab countries.

    Transfer all Arabs from Israel, Jewish land and homes confiscated by Arab countries.

    A prominent PLO member says there are no "Palestinians" and no "Palestine." PLO executive committee member Zahir Muhsein admitted in a March 31, 1977 interview with a Dutch newspaper Trouw, "The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct ‘Palestinian people’ to oppose Zionism."

    If the historic documents, comments written by eyewitnesses and declarations by the most authoritative Arab scholars are still not enough, let us quote the most important source for Muslim Arabs:

    "And thereafter we [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: ‘Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass,  we will gather you together in a mingled crowd.’."

    YUSUF ALI: And We said thereafter to the Children of Israel, "Dwell securely in the land (of promise)": but when the second of the warnings came to pass, We gathered you together in a mingled crowd.

    PICKTHAL: And We said unto the Children of  Israel after him: Dwell in the land; but when the promise of the Hereafter cometh to pass We shall bring you as a crowd gathered out of various nations.

    SHAKIR: And We said to the Israelites after him: Dwell in the land: and when the promise of the next life shall come to pass, we will bring you both together in judgment.

    – Qur’an 17:104 –

    Any sincere Muslim must recognize the land they call "Palestine" as the Jewish homeland, according to the book considered by Muslims to be the most sacred word and Allah’s ultimate revelation.

    The building of houses in Greater Israel is the right and duty of the Israeli government. There is no such a thing as occupied territory. It has been the land of Israel for over 4,000 years.

    Sequence of historical events, agreements and a non-broken series of treaties and resolutions, as laid out by the San Remo Resolution, the League of Nations and the United Nations, gives the Jews title to the city of Jerusalem and to the rest of Israel, totaling approximately 45,000 square miles, as mandated by the League of Nations in July of 1922. The process began at San Remo, Italy, when the four principal Allied Powers of World War I–Great Britain, France, Italy and Japan–agreed to create a Jewish national home in what is now Israel. (You might as well break apart Syria which was mandated at the same time).

    YJ Draiman
    Candidate to LA City Council District 12

    1. This is the most racist

      This is the most racist comment I have ever heard/seen from a politician to be.  Only Zionist Jews can make statements like these and get away with it.  Because they control the media in the U.S and now trying to control the internet. 

      Let’s get some facts straight.  According to your own history, the Jews came to Palestine after they were kicked out of Egypt.  There were people who lived in Palestine before the Jews came and they were called Palestinians.  The same way the people who live in California are called Californians. 

      Another fact, Not all Palestinians are Arabs.  There are Armenians, Greeks,  Assyrians, Arabs, Christians and Muslims who are all called Palestinians who are constantly harassed and killed by the Government of Israel. 

      By the way, I live in LA and you just lost my vote and the votes of all my friends and relatives and I will see to it that you will never get elected to any office with a racist atitude like this.

      1. Crash Course on the Arab Israeli Conflict

        Crash Course on the Arab Israeli Conflict

        Here are overlooked facts in the current Middle East situation; these were compiled by a Christian university professor. It makes sense and it’s not slanted. Jew and non-Jew –it doesn’t matter. Thank You.

        1. Nationhood and Jerusalem. Israel became a nation in 1312 B.C.E., two thousand years before the rise of Islam.

        2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

        3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 B.C.E., the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.

        4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 C.E. lasted no more than 22 years.

        5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital. Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

        6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures. Jerusalem is not mentioned once in the Koran.

        7. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.

        8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem. Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.

        9. Arab and Jewish Refugees: In 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews. Sixty-eight percent left without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.

        10. The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.

        11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.

        12. Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugeegroup in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own peoples’ lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey.

        13. The Arab – Israeli Conflict: The Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians.

        There is only one Jewish nation.

        The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost.

        Israel defended itself each time and won.

        14. The P.L.O.’s Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.

        15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.

        16. The U.N. Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.

        17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.

        18. The U.N was silent while 58 Jerusalem Synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.

        19. The U.N. was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

        20. The U.N. was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

        1. Jews in Jerusalem and Palestine

          The Los Angeles politician’s take on the history of Arabs, Palestine, Jews and Israel is so full of falsehoods, half-truths, false logic, selective facts, brazen lies and other garden-variety re-writing of history that it’s not worth wasting a byte to respond to his screed, although I have unfortunately done so by writing these lines.
          1. Right on Vrej

            Right on Vrej.  This guy lost his credibility when he made nasty, racist remarks in his first posted comments.  The whole Jewish history is full of myths, half truths and lies.  e.g. Moses divided the red sea and the whole Egyptian army drowned.  There is nothing to that effect in the Egyptian history.  And Egyptians wrote everything down.  I f they had lost a whole army, they would have certainly written about it.  If you tell the same lies long enough, you would start believing it yourself.
    2. I notice that the article
      I notice that the article about the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem appeared in Keghart.com in April 2009. The Los Angeles politicos comment is dated Dec. 2010. The year-and-a-half gap between the publication of the article and the letter from the L.A. ultranationist fundamentalist pundit leads me to conclude that:
      1. Despite his rhetoric, the issue is not that important to Mr. Draiman;
      2. His onerous City Hall duties have prevented the hard-working politician from putting in his putrid five-cents sooner;
      3. He might have been California Dreamin’ all this time… a modern-day Rip Van Winkle, but with poison pen.

      1. This was my point exactly. 
        This was my point exactly. They control the media but they have not been able to do the same to the internet yet. That’s why it took them a year-and-a-half to discover this and dump their venom. I have one advice to Mr. Tutunjian: "Yete ays martots hed lavoutiamp varvis, dgaroutian nshan ge ngaden yev gouzen vrat yelel. Bedke vor gardzer varvis vor harkevis."

  5. Ethiopian presence

    Until the Fascist invasion of Ethiopia in the 1930’s when Mussolini confiscated Ethiopian accounts and possessions everywhere, including in Jerusalem, the Ethiopian presence in Jerusalem had shown some semblance of stability and security, despite continuing intrigues by Copts, Armenians and their overlords in the region.

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