Strike of the Lone Farmer
Strike of the Lone FarmeriStock

Although approaching age 70, Hemi Cohen does not tire. He has began a one-man-strike in front of UN headquarters in Armon Hanetziv demanding the State of Israel exercise sovereignty over the compound.

Signs written by Cohen explicitly read: "Sign and stay or go away."

Cohen is a veteran farmer and son of well-known Lehi man Yehoshua Cohen, who assassinated UN envoy Count Bernadotte who worked during the War of Independence to implement the partition plan and transfer Jerusalem to international rule.

Hemi Cohen
Hemi CohenArutz Sheva

Last summer, UNESCO issued a statement saying, "All legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and must be rescinded forthwith."

Since then Cohen began dealing with the issue, and as of today he began a protest vigil in front of UN headquarters, with no end date at this stage.

"Many people ask me why now," Cohen wrote on his Facebook page. "There are so many problems in the country and struggles, there are many problems in the State of Israel, but at the end of the day Jerusalem is at the heart of the entire Zionist and national issue, and the behavior of the State in Jerusalem is a very serious problem. In Jerusalem, where the State handed over sovereign territory to a foreign entity, with its own hands, is Armon Hanetziv."

The issue of UN presence in Armon Hanetziv held prominence in the past year thanks to a petition filed by the Regavim movement for protecting Israel's resources against a long list of building violations and the misappropriation of dozens of acres of state land the UN carried out in the compound. An historical survey conducted by Regavim revealed the UN never signed a lease with the State, who is the legal owner of the compound.

In its final decision the Jerusalem District Court ordered the State update diplomatic contacts between Israel and the UN on the construction issue by November. In the meantime construction activity is not to continue on the site.