Jordan slams Israel after Christian leaders close Jerusalem holy site

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Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Al Safadi on Monday, slammed Israel for “illegal unilateral acts’’ a day after Christian leaders shuttered a holy site in Jerusalem in protest against Israeli taxes and proposed legislation.

“Israeli actions threaten the identity of the city and the presence of Christians in the Holy Land,’’ Al Safadi said in Brussels before a meeting between EU and Arab League foreign ministers.

Jordan is the official custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.
The two countries claimed a “systematic campaign of abuse.’’

Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Armenian Christian leaders took the rare step of closing Christianity’s holiest site.

The leaders are protesting against a Jerusalem municipality decision to collect taxes on some church-owned property and the proposed legislation.

The proposed legislation will allow the state to expropriate land the churches have sold to private investors since 2010.

The Greek Orthodox Church, one of the largest real-estate owners in Israel, has drawn controversy from its own Palestinian adherents for allegedly undervalued land sales to anonymous buyers.

Israeli authorities have also suspiciously eyed the land deals which they say jeopardises the housing rights of hundreds of Israelis who live on church-owned property.

The property was leased to Israeli government institutions in the 1950s. (Dpa/NAN)

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