France 24: Armenians being squeezed out of Jerusalem’s Old City


Siranush Ghazanchyan

France 24 presents a glimpse into Jerusalem’s Old City and an insight into the uneasy cohabitation of the communities that share this sliver of sacrosanct ground.

One might think it would be a bit easier in the Armenian Quarter. After all, they’re not Palestinians and they’re not directly involved in the Arab-Israeli conflict. But they are residents of a city that Jews consider holy and want to take back, and this means, for some at least, that the Armenians are in the way.

Annie Dikbikian’s family fled the Armenian genocide and she was born and raised in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City. “It used to be comfortable here,” she says. “It has changed too much.”

According to the report, Armenians, who are Orthodox Christians, are being squeezed out of the Old City. “We are afraid of the Arabs and the Jews,” said Annie Dikbikian, whose family fled the Armenian genocide and she was born and raised in the Armenian Quarter of the Old City.

Old City life is particularly hard on the kids who live there. “They have no space, nowhere to go,” Dikbikian says. “I have a son who doesn’t like to go out much because of the situation.”

It’s uncomfortable for her in the Old City, too. Her style of dress would be unremarkable in most parts of the world, but it doesn’t conform to the conservative standards of either the Jews or the Arabs.

“They look at you like you’re an alien,” she says. And that’s the soft side of things. During the Easter holidays, when the Armenians parade through the Old City with a large wooden cross,

the Jews come and spit on it, she says.

“They’re closing [in] so much,” Dikbikian says of the Jewish settlers who are buying up houses in the Old City. “Every day they’re telling you to get out of here. If I had the money and the power I would definitely leave.”

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