Palestinians Take Legal Action against Greek Patriarch over Land Sales to Israelis

Unknown to many, the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate owns vast amounts of real estate inside the state of Israel, including entire neighborhoods in Jerusalem that are leased under terms of a contract with the Jewish National Fund that expires in the year 2050. On Saturday, hundreds of Muslim and Christian Palestinians joined by Greek Orthodox Christians, demonstrated outside the Old City’s Jaffa Gate to protest the church’s sale of land to Jewish Israelis, including land developers. Many surmise there will be a major effort to sell the land to Israeli lease-holders before the due date. The protests were directed specifically at Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III, the crowd demanding his firing. According to the Ma’an news agency, Palestinians have sought to bring criminal charges against the Patriarch, entering a complaint with the Palestinian Authority’s attorney general, accusing him of “treason,” “selling property to the enemy,” and aiding in the “juda-ization” of Jerusalem.

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