In a statement issued on the heels of the Israeli police assault on the Christian priests, Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qasem said the gross offensive against a group of Christian priests outside of the Church of Resurrection in occupied Jerusalem is an intolerable crime.
“This crime vividly reflects the racist and brutal demeanor of the Israeli occupation and its ceaseless attempts to obliterate the non-Jewish character of the city”, said Qasem.
“All the Israeli endeavors to manipulate reality in occupied Jerusalem will not change the historical facts on the ground as the Palestinian people will continue their struggle against the Israeli occupation until they liberate their land and holy sites”, the statement read.
Israeli police broke up on Wednesday morning a sit-in by Coptic monks in the forecourt of Jerusalem’s Holy Sepulcher church, attacking those protesting at a restoration work in a nearby monastery claimed by their sect.
“The police attacked us and forced us to leave the area,” Coptic Orthodox Church spokesman Father Markos Al Orshalimy said following the protest in front of the site.
Orshalimy said several monks had been injured, while others were arrested and later released.
Images on social media showed police officers holding a monk down on the ground then carrying him away in handcuffs.
Other police officers could be seen unceremoniously ousting monks through a door on the side of the square.
Since Tuesday, about 30 Orthodox Coptic monks have been holding a sit-in to block Israeli occupation authorities from reaching Deir as-Sultan, a monastery on the roof of the church, and carry out construction works.