Church Leaders Denounce ‘Illegal’ Takeover of Property by ‘Extremist’ Settlers in Jerusalem

Theophilos III, Patriarch of the Orthodox Church of Jerusalem. (Photo: Michał Józefaciuk, via Wikimedia Commons)

Palestinian Greek Orthodox Church leaders have denounced on Tuesday the “illegal” takeover of church property in occupied East Jerusalem by Israeli “extremists”, the Middle East Monitor reported.

The property in question is the Petra Hotel, operated by a Palestinian family in occupied East Jerusalem.

On Sunday, a notorious settler organization, Ateret Cohanim, broke into the hotel as well as a nearby money exchange shop. The Jewish settlers received Israeli police protection despite possessing no eviction notice.

Ateret Cohanim’s stated goal is the creation of a Jewish majority in the occupied Old City and Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. It works to “Judaize” East Jerusalem to achieve Jewish supremacy by purchasing properties through front companies and then moving Jewish settlers into them.

“Acting in this illegally aggressive manner against a known Christian property and an Arab business — particularly ahead of Easter and Ramadan — could likely ignite local hostilities,” the Church said on Tuesday, condemning the takeover.

“The patriarch requests that the police act to evict Ateret Cohanim… until the ongoing legal proceedings conclude and are finalized.”

Israel’s violent capture, illegal annexation and military occupation of Jerusalem has accelerated the flight of Palestinian Christians from their country.

Human rights groups have described Israel’s rule over the territory as a form of apartheid, under which Christian Palestinians are also treated like second and third-class citizens.

(MEMO, PC, Social Media)

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