Israel’s Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal against the sale of church land in the Old City of Jerusalem to right-wing settler organization Ateret Cohanim.
Supreme Court Justice Alex Stein and Judges Yitzhak Amit and Yael Vilner yesterday ruled that the sale of the land – which took place in 2004 via international agents – was “legal”.
The Supreme Court approved the disputed sale of three key assets belonging to the Greek Church to Ateret Cohanim, ending a 14-year legal battlehttps://t.co/A268bc7STr
— Haaretz.com (@haaretzcom) June 10, 2019
The court, therefore, passed the three sites to Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing settler organization which buys houses and land for illegal Jewish settlement.
The ruling will come as a blow to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, which has been embroiled in the affair since the secret sales were made some 15 years ago.
The court ruled that the sales had been perfectly legal and approved the transfer of the Old City buildings to Ateret Cohanim. https://t.co/t0SbUGYhLa
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) June 11, 2019
At the time the scandal rocked the church, with then-Greek Patriarch Irenaios denying knowledge of the sales; he subsequently backtracked on his position, accusing the church’s director of finance, Nicholas Papadimas, of authorizing the sales without the church’s authorization.
The sales have sparked anger among Palestinians, particularly given the fact that many of these properties are eventually handed over to organizations such as Ateret Cohanim.
Ateret Cohanim, a pro-settler Israeli organization, has asked Israeli courts to begin the evictions of nine… https://t.co/Re2lkO7YK1
— Team Palestina (@TeamPalestina) November 17, 2016
Ateret Cohanim has been at the forefront of attempts to forcibly evict Palestinians from their homes, notably in the Jerusalem neighborhoods Silwan – which lies just outside the Old City walls – and Sheikh Jarrah, encouraging illegal Israeli settlement in the Holy City.
Selling or attempting to sell land to Jewish-Israelis is considered a crime by the Palestinian authorities and is punishable by hard labor, imprisonment or death. However, no death penalties have been signed off by PA President Mahmoud Abbas since 2006.
(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)