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Middle East: Christianity

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 15th March 2018.

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Photo of The Bishop of Southwark The Bishop of Southwark Bishop

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 6 November 2017 (HL2966), what is their assessment of (1) the Status Quo as it refers to the relations between the Christian Communities of the Holy Land with the governments of that region, and (2) Her Majesty's Government's historic and current responsibilities in maintaining and defending that agreement.

Photo of The Bishop of Southwark The Bishop of Southwark Bishop

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 6 November 2017 (HL2967), whether they plan to undertake a detailed assessment of the Church Lands Bill which is being considered by the Israeli Knesset, and of the impact that Bill might have on the Status Quo of the Holy Land sites in Jerusalem.

Photo of The Bishop of Southwark The Bishop of Southwark Bishop

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to undertake a detailed assessment of the Municipality of Jerusalem’s proposals to tax Church property and of the impact of those proposals on (1) the Christian presence, and (2) Christian institutions, including hospitals and schools, in Jerusalem.

Photo of The Bishop of Southwark The Bishop of Southwark Bishop

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon on 6 November 2017 (HL2964), what assessment they have made of the impact of (1) the Church Lands Bill, which is being considered by the Israeli Knesset, and (2) the Municipality of Jerusalem’s proposals to tax Church property, on religious freedom in Israel.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State

We encourage the parties to do all they can to work together to uphold the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem. Our Embassy in Tel Aviv and our Consulate General in Jerusalem are closely following developments on both the Church Lands Bill and the Jerusalem Municipality Tax. We welcome the Israeli Government’s announcement that the draft legislation and tax collecting activities will be suspended to allow dialogue to take place, and the commitment given to maintaining freedom of religion. We expect all Church bank accounts to be unfrozen by the Municipality as part of this process.

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