|Jews praying at the Western Wall on Yom Kippur c1920|
I don't know the full story, other than the one sided account by the Church published in the Times of Israel (it was too much for the journalist of the new and obviously belts and braces Times of Israel to make a phone call or send an email to find out the legal position of the municipality, rather than simply copy and paste a Vatican press release).
Often there will be a whole different complexion after reading the defense, never more so than in Israel. I do not know why the rent hasn't been paid, even if it was due in the first place. But maybe it has something to do with the Church owing an israeli company two million dollars for water that was never paid for since 1996. The Holy Sepulchre church has never paid Israel a penny for water since1967.
This report in the Independent has an archbishop complain that the service was actually stopped, in the middle of negotiations! With such arguments we can now understand why Iran is so upset at sanctions being imposed against it, similarly during negotiations.
The church is one of the largest landowners if not the largest landowner in Jerusalem, and surely it doesn't allow its own tenants to similarly get away with its non payments over this period, or any period for that matter?
In British law, on which israeli law is largely based, he who wishes to take advantage of the law 'must come with clean hands' (no pun intended, but it means for example that a burglar should not be able to sue the owner of a house he was breaking into for falling on an uneven step and breaking his arm).
But just as palestinian arab terrorists like to take advantage of Israel's social security system, murderers even being paid pensions:
To the layman, it’s preposterous that Israelis would shell out portions of their hard-earned incomes to help recognized terrorists who actively aimed to kill the very taxpayers from whom they then brazenly demand financial support.So the Catholic Church whilst carrying on a vicious propaganda war against Israel, is always happy to continue the war in Israel's courts:
This issue isn’t new to our public discourse. Back in 2001, a vehement chorus of disapproval was provoked by revelations that the family of suicide bomber Muhammad Shaker Habeishi, who blew himself up outside the Nahariya train station, killing three people and wounding 94 others, was eligible for a monthly pension of NIS 2,800.
By law there was no way of denying him comprehensive taxpayer-funded assistance. The law, in its obligatory blindness, doesn’t distinguish between terrorists and those whom they conspired to murder.
The Vatican has sued Jerusalem’s city hall for NIS 352,000 for unpaid rent on a public bathroom in the Old City’s Muslim Quarter. According to the report in Maariv, the toilets were built on Church property in 1962 by the Jordanian government, and since passing into Israeli control in 1967, the Jerusalem municipality hasn’t paid the Church for using its property for the public bathrooms.The journalist failed to say where the toilets are, but they are probably the ones next to the Western Wall, next to the most holy place in judaism, the Temple Mount where the jewish temple stood (now taken over by the Mosque of Omar), a place where thousands of jewish pilgrims attend daily. I have attended both places on a regular basis throughout the years, and wonder where the Church would like thousands of visiting jews to now do the necessary when the urge takes them?
“You are required to vacate the property immediately and cease entering the property or making any use of it,” the Church plaintiffs wrote. “And you may not allow others to enter the property, to arrange any work or changes.”
But that doesn't bother the Church, as it doesn't believe jews have any business at all in that part of the world. Vatican II or otherwise, catholic clerics don't want jews to exist per se, in their eyes jews were 'replaced'. How else could the following nonsense of 'judaisation of Jerusalem' be given pride of place on the Fransciscan website?
"They stressed their common goal of defending Jerusalem and its holy places from every attempt at Judaization, according to a statement from the Palace, especially the Al-Aqsa mosque, the scene of frequent incidents between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.The only time Jerusalem was not 'judaised' was when thousands of jews were driven out by arabs, beginning in the pogroms during the British Mandate in 1920,1921,1929, 1936-39 and most devastatingly when jews were ethnically cleansed in 1948 from Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria. For thousands of years before 1948 jews, with rare exceptions were the majority of inhabitants of Jerusalem.
The 'incidents' are of course provoked by the Waqf who trot out on a regular basis lies about Israel undermining different parts of the Temple Mount so as to damage the mosques there. Arabs just don't want jews in the area, and the Catholic Church has found a new way to help in this effort, by closing down the toilets for thousands.
The constant war of attrition by the Catholic Church and by Muslim Waqf must be resisted, if jews are to continue to be able to pray at the Western Wall, and to visit the Temple Mount (Israel has for too long acceded to arab demands, firstly in allowing the Waqf custodianship of all of the Temple Mount area, and in preventing jews from praying there, in the most holy site of jews).
Hopefully the israeli court will give this provocative application by the Church the short shrift it deserves.