A disruption between Israeli police and Coptic priests at a great Christian holy place in Jerusalem on Wednesday drew condemnation…
A disruption between Israeli police and Coptic priests at a great Christian holy place in Jerusalem on Wednesday drew condemnation from Egypt and churches in the Holy Land.
Police and Coptic priests were fought outside a controversial chapel at the Holy Sepulcher Church in Jerusalem, where many Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected.
Copts protested at the beginning of the restoration work of Israel’s antiquity authority at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel, like both the Ethiopian and Egyptian Orthodox Churches
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, located in Jerusalem’s Old City, is shared by several Christian denominations. A long-standing status quo governs the ownership and management of the holy place. Each group is highly protective of its territory, and even perceived changes to the status quo have resulted in arguments or violence.
The Antiquity Authority would carry out repairs after a stone fell out of the chapel in September 201
Mazen Qupty, a lawyer of the Coptic Church, said that a priest was briefly detained and several suffered minor injuries.
An umbrella group of churches in the Holy Land issued a statement condemning the abuse of police against the priests. It said that the Orthodox Coptic Patriarchate lodged a complaint with the Israeli Justice Department and that Copts plans to protest against police action in the coming days.
“While condemning the police’s actions against Coptic monks, We demand that Israeli authorities … be responsible for the said police and respect the fundamental rights of the people for freedom of speech and demonstration,” said Wadie Abunassar, adviser to Church leaders in the Holy Land, in a statement.  Egypt’s Foreign Ministry expressed a “total rejection” of Israeli police violence and said it is “careful monitoring of the situation”.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Antiquity Authority rejected comment.