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Jerusalemites chafe as Russians resume control of Sergei Courtyard

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  • Bill Samsonoff
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1067040.html Last update - 05:37 26/02/2009 Jerusalemites chafe as Russians resume control of Sergei Courtyard By Nir
    Message 1 of 3 , Feb 25, 2009
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      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1067040.html

      Last update - 05:37 26/02/2009
      Jerusalemites chafe as Russians resume control of Sergei Courtyard
      By Nir Hasson
      Tags: russia, sergei courtyard

      After more than 100 years, the Russians have returned to Sergei
      Courtyard. Senior members of the Russian parliament and Eastern
      Orthodox Church have begun arriving at the site to begin renovation
      work as the structure reverts from Israeli to Russian control.

      The renovations have been fiercely criticized by organizations whose
      offices are located in the building, as well as by the Jerusalem Municipality.

      The site was constructed in 1890 for the benefit of pilgrims from
      czarist Russia, and for years was one of the city's most lavish
      lodgings for pilgrims and aristocrats. Following World War I, it
      passed to the hands of British Mandate authorities, and then to Israel.

      In recent years the Kremlin has demanded its return, claiming it was
      acquired illegally. In October Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced
      it would be returned as a goodwill gesture, following Knesset
      approval of the move and a High Court rejection of a petition against
      the transfer.

      The first stage of the handover involves Russia's receiving full
      authority over one wing of the courtyard, the area where renovation
      began this week, and talks will eventually be held over the future of
      the site as a whole. Organizations that currently have offices in the
      building - the Agriculture Ministry, Parks and Nature Authority and
      Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel - fear they will be
      forced to leave.

      "Our principal concern is that the courtyard remains open to the
      public despite coming under Russian ownership. It's not only our
      offices there - the courtyard was used as the center of a wide array
      of activities for Jerusalem residents," says Pazit Shavid, manager of
      the SPNI branch in the capital.

      Meanwhile, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat wrote to Foreign Minister Tzipi
      Livni calling for maintaining the status quo over public access to
      the site. "Tens of thousands of visitors come to the site annually,
      due to the efforts of the SPNI, a situation that must be protected at
      all costs," he wrote.

      Barkat also expressed concern that other countries with links to
      property in Jerusalem might seek to assert control over them. He also
      requested that a representative from his office participate in talks
      with Russian authorities over the courtyard.
    • Rev Fr John Brian
      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1067040.html Last update - 05:37 26/02/2009
      Message 2 of 3 , Feb 26, 2009
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        http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1067040.html


        Last update - 05:37 26/02/2009
        <http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/images/0.gif>
        <http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/images/0.gif>
        <http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/images/0.gif>
        <http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/images/0.gif>
        Jerusalemites chafe as Russians resume control of Sergei Courtyard
        <http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/images/0.gif>
        By Nir Hasson <mailto:nirh@...>
        <http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/images/0.gif>


        After more than 100 years, the Russians have returned to Sergei Courtyard.
        Senior members of the Russian parliament and Eastern Orthodox Church have
        begun arriving at the site to begin renovation work as the structure reverts
        from Israeli to Russian control.

        The renovations have been fiercely criticized by organizations whose offices
        are located in the building, as well as by the Jerusalem Municipality.

        The site was constructed in 1890 for the benefit of pilgrims from czarist
        Russia, and for years was one of the city's most lavish lodgings for
        pilgrims and aristocrats. Following World War I, it passed to the hands of
        British Mandate authorities, and then to Israel. In recent years the Kremlin
        has demanded its return, claiming it was acquired illegally. In October
        Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced it would be returned as a goodwill
        gesture, following Knesset approval of the move and a High Court rejection
        of a petition against the transfer.

        The first stage of the handover involves Russia's receiving full authority
        over one wing of the courtyard, the area where renovation began this week,
        and talks will eventually be held over the future of the site as a whole.
        Organizations that currently have offices in the building - the Agriculture
        Ministry, Parks and Nature Authority and Society for the Protection of
        Nature in Israel - fear they will be forced to leave.

        "Our principal concern is that the courtyard remains open to the public
        despite coming under Russian ownership. It's not only our offices there -
        the courtyard was used as the center of a wide array of activities for
        Jerusalem residents," says Pazit Shavid, manager of the SPNI branch in the
        capital.

        Meanwhile, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat wrote to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
        calling for maintaining the status quo over public access to the site. "Tens
        of thousands of visitors come to the site annually, due to the efforts of
        the SPNI, a situation that must be protected at all costs," he wrote.

        Barkat also expressed concern that other countries with links to property in
        Jerusalem might seek to assert control over them. He also requested that a
        representative from his office participate in talks with Russian authorities
        over the courtyard.



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • emrys@globe.net.nz
        w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m Last update - 05:37 26/02/2009 Jerusalemites chafe as Russians resume control of Sergei Courtyard By Nir Hasson After more than
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 1 1:27 AM
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          w w w . h a a r e t z . c o m

          Last update - 05:37 26/02/2009


          Jerusalemites chafe as Russians resume control of Sergei Courtyard
          By Nir Hasson


          After more than 100 years, the Russians have returned to Sergei Courtyard.
          Senior members of the Russian parliament and Eastern Orthodox Church have
          begun arriving at the site to begin renovation work as the structure reverts
          from Israeli to Russian control.


          The renovations have been fiercely criticized by organizations whose offices
          are located in the building, as well as by the Jerusalem Municipality.


          The site was constructed in 1890 for the benefit of pilgrims from czarist
          Russia, and for years was one of the city's most lavish lodgings for
          pilgrims and aristocrats. Following World War I, it passed to the hands of
          British Mandate authorities, and then to Israel.


          In recent years the Kremlin has demanded its return, claiming it was
          acquired illegally. In October Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced it would
          be returned as a goodwill gesture, following Knesset approval of the move
          and a High Court rejection of a petition against the transfer.


          The first stage of the handover involves Russia's receiving full authority
          over one wing of the courtyard, the area where renovation began this week,
          and talks will eventually be held over the future of the site as a whole.
          Organizations that currently have offices in the building - the Agriculture
          Ministry, Parks and Nature Authority and Society for the Protection of
          Nature in Israel - fear they will be forced to leave.


          "Our principal concern is that the courtyard remains open to the public
          despite coming under Russian ownership. It's not only our offices there -
          the courtyard was used as the center of a wide array of activities for
          Jerusalem residents," says Pazit Shavid, manager of the SPNI branch in the
          capital.


          Meanwhile, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat wrote to Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni
          calling for maintaining the status quo over public access to the site. "Tens
          of thousands of visitors come to the site annually, due to the efforts of
          the SPNI, a situation that must be protected at all costs," he wrote.


          Barkat also expressed concern that other countries with links to property in
          Jerusalem might seek to assert control over them. He also requested that a
          representative from his office participate in talks with Russian authorities
          over the courtyard.



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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