Palestinians attack vehicle of Greek Patriarch in protest against land deals
07 January, 2018, 18:33 | Author: Wade Massey
With the end of those leases in sight and the Church in a cash-poor position and needing revenue, sales of the leased properties were made to Jewish Israelis infuriating Palestinians who see all Jerusalem property as theirs.
Dozens of Palestinians in Bethlehem are protesting the arrival of the Greek Orthodox patriarch of the Holy Land to celebrate Orthodox Christmas. Accordingly, Patriarch Theophilos is being called a "traitor".
"We do not want this man". The Orthodox mark Christmas according to the Gregorian, rather than Julian, calendar. It is dominated by Greek clergy while the flock is overwhelmingly Palestinian.
They had urged the public to stay away, but it was not immediately known if there was a significant drop in attendance compared to previous days or what effect driving rain in Bethlehem may have had.
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Theophilos, head of the largest orthodox community in Palestine, headed a procession that started from the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem's Old City and arrived at Bethlehem's Manger Square where he was received by Palestinian officials, including the governor of Bethlehem Jibrin Bakri and Minister of Tourism Rola Mayaya among others.
Israeli media have reported that the deals presumably include properties in occupied Jerusalem, likewise in the port cities of Caesarea and Jaffa.
Recently, the Church authorities caused controversy when they expressed their willingness to sell the land to private investors to pay off their debts. They identified some Jewish and Israeli investors as potential buyers.
Theophilos III is accused of orchestrating the sale of more than 500 dunams (123.5 acres) of Palestinian land belonging to the Arab Orthodox Church in Jerusalem to Israeli entrepreneurs belonging to Zionist and settler groups.
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