JERUSALEM (CNS) — Archbishop Fouad Twal, Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, condemned the government demolition of a home on church-owned property and said the church would take legal action to “bring back justice and rebuild this home.”
At a Nov. 5 news conference at the ruins of the residence, which had housed a family of 14 people, Patriarch Twal said looking at the “painful and upsetting scene raises discontent and anger.”
“There is no justification for the demolition, but when the municipality and the Israeli government enact demolitions and displace people from their homes, these practices increase hatred and endanger the future of peace,” the patriarch said, noting that the church had the official paperwork and deed and had owned the property since before the 1967 Israeli-Arab war that put parts of Jerusalem and the West Bank in dispute.
“You will hear our voice before all governments worldwide, and we will take legal action in appropriate courts to rectify this injustice, to bring back justice and rebuild this home,” he said. “We have willpower and a spirit of belonging to this land of our ancestors, this sacred land which is home of our past, present and future.”
The first week of November, bulldozers from the Jerusalem municipality, accompanied by Israeli security forces, razed the home, taking residents by surprise. Israeli officials said the residence had been built without the proper permits.
The Red Cross is providing the displaced residents with tents and assistance.