Skip to main content

Palestinians challenge Armenian Patriarchate over Jerusalem land lease

The Armenian Patriarch’s decision to lease property to an Australian real estate developer has led to a crisis in Palestinian-Armenian ties in Jerusalem
Nourhan Manougian (R), the Armenian patriarch of Jerusalem, makes his way to the Church of the Nativity during the Epiphany celebrations, Bethlehem, West Bank, Jan. 18, 2020.

Aside from the Orthodox, the Armenians are the oldest Christian community in Palestine. The nearly 1,000 Armenians live in the Armenian Quarter, which is located next to the Jewish Quarter, in the Old City of Jerusalem, where housing, school and other basic institutions are provided for the local community. The current religious leader of the Armenians and his real estate director are now embroiled in a row with the Palestinian leadership for leasing hitherto unused sensitive land next to the Jewish Quarter initially to the Israeli municipality for a parking lot.

The 10-year lease that required the Israelis to spend $2 million to clear rubble in order to prepare the parking lot is now said to have become a 99-year lease to Jewish Australian businessman Danny Rubenstein, to convert it into a luxurious hotel that the patriarchate has admitted to and said it “will bring in a stream of hundreds of thousands of dollars that will provide financial stability for the cash-strapped church.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.