The Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine issued a statement voicing its “deep concern” over the decision by authorities in Jerusalem to tax and confiscate properties within the region belonging to Christian churches.
The following is the organisation’s full statement.
The Sri Lanka Committee for Solidarity with Palestine expresses deep concern over moves by the Jerusalem city authorities to tax Christian church properties and confiscate church-owned properties.
While expressing our solidarity with Palestinian Christians and church leaders who are the guardians of the Holy Sepulchre and other Holy Land places sacred to the Christians, we condemn the city authorities’ moves, as they amount to religious persecution.
We point out that the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one of Christianity’s holiest sites, is located in East Jerusalem’s Old City that is illegally occupied by Israel against international law for half a century.
We see these moves as another step towards consolidating Israel as a racist state in keeping with Zionism’s declared objectives of establishing a state exclusively to the Jews.
We also note with a sense of apprehension that Israel has been emboldened to undertake measures aimed at undermining the religious freedom of the Palestinian Muslims and the Christians after the United States’ President Donald Trump last year declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel.
While we stand by Palestinian church leaders who closed this week the Holy Sepulchre in protest against the new tax and proposed legislation to confiscate church-owned property, we call upon the Jerusalem city authorities to respect the age old traditions that govern the Christian churches in the holy city and abandon efforts to impose taxes on church properties and seize church lands.