Jerusalem24 – The Israeli Magistrate’s Court in occupied Jerusalem ruled yesterday that settlers belonging to the Ateret Cohanim settlment organization must leave a money exchange shop and two stores in the Little Petra Hotel in Bab Al-Khalil in the Old City of Jerusalem no later than 3 July.
Palestinian lawyer Medhat Diba stated that this was an important decision. He also mentioned that the properties were not part of any deals related to the Christian endowment properties nor the Bab Al-Khalil Deal that was leaked in 2020, under which the Orthodox Patriarchate transferred control of Jerusalem properties to Ateret Cohanim.
The Petra Hotel is divided into two parts, the Petra Grand Hotel, and the Little Petra Hotel. The Little Petra Hotel received an eviction order addressed to the Saeed family in addition to the companies of the Qirrish family that were managing the property. Nabil Qirrish’s heirs were not informed of the decision.
On 27 March this year, Israeli settlers stormed the Little Petra Hotel, including two stores belonging to Nasser Saeed on the ground floor, a money exchange shop, and an antique shop.
Eyewitnesses reported that the police were present at the scene but did nothing to stop the attack, and actually allowed the settlers to remain on the properties.
“The decision regarding the warehouses is a glimmer of hope for the complete evacuation of the settlers from the hotel as well,” said Diba. He added that the Qirrish family are protected tenants from the monastery, and that “this protection was violated by the settlers storming the premises last March with the help of the police forces.”
Diba himself was attacked and arrested last March and released six hours later. He said that the armed settlers attacked him and the son of the hotel owner in front of the police, who did not intervene or provide any assistance.