Armenians in Jerusalem fear their small but close-knit community will not survive if they lose the Cows' Garden in the Armenian Quarter. Many Armenians live here, having moved 100 years ago, after the Armenian Genocide, Al Jazeera writes.
Upon discovering that settlers had come back bulldoze the area close to his residence in the Armenian Quarter, Garo Nalbandian, an 80-year-old professional photographer, actively participated in the protest in the area referred to as Cows' Garden.
On October 26, the Jerusalem Patriarchate of the Armenian Apostolic Church revealed its decision to nullify a previously undisclosed land lease agreement from 2021 with a real estate company believed to be associated with settler interests.
Xana Gardens since then sent contractors, armed settlers and bulldozers to take control of the land, which comprises the property of the Armenian Church and the residences of Nalbandian and four other families.
The Armenian community, with a 1,600-year history, is concentrated within the Armenian Quarter and is the oldest Armenian diaspora in the world.
The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Nourhan Manougian leased the territory of the Cows' Garden to a Jewish entrepreneur for 99 years. This decision caused a lot of uproar, and after a lengthy struggle, it was possible to annul the deal.
However, bulldozers recently began demolishing part of the disputed site. When protesters tried to stop it, armed Israeli Jewish settlers appeared and tried to disperse the demonstrators, but were unsuccessful.