The Gaza Post|The News of Palestine-Jerusalem
Palestinian committee rejected Israeli court approval of a deal between the Orthodox Patriarchate and an Israeli settlement association 13 years ago to rent Christian buildings in the eastern part of Jerusalem.
High Presidential Committee for Church Affairs in Palestine said in a press release that the decision of Israeli Central Court regarding the deal was unjust and political in nature, targeting Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine.
The presidential committee held an emergency meeting to discuss repercussions of the Israeli court decision issued two days ago, to start the deal that was concluded in 2004 between Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem and the settlement of Ateret Cohanim.
The committee’s statement called for “uniting all official and popular national efforts to confront the court’s decision and its failure as a disregard for all the fraud, bribery and deception tactics used by settlement association to pass the deal.
The statement accused the settlement association of “using all possible pressure tactics, including political pressure and Israeli government to influence the court’s decision”.
The presidential committee stressed that East Jerusalem “is an occupied city and Israeli annexation is void. A court representing the occupation has no right to impose its decision on the occupied part of the city to perpetuate the occupation status quo”.
The committee warned of the great danger involved in passing the deal, “because it aims to strengthen Israeli control of an important entrance in Jerusalem, and its influence affects the Christian presence in the city, especially as it violates the sanctity of the Jerusalemite Church”.
Israeli “Central Court” in Jerusalem approved two days ago the legality to start the Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem and Ateret Cohanim, which provides for the leasing of three buildings belonging to the Patriarchate for 99 years.
The targeted buildings include two of the largest buildings in the Old City, Petra and Imperial Hotel, located at the entrance to the Bab al-Khalil, a strategic location in East Jerusalem. The deal was the result of the overthrow of Greek Patriarch Irianos Skoplists.
The Palestinians want to declare East Jerusalem, which includes Al-Aqsa Mosque as the capital of their future state, while Israel insists that unified Jerusalem be its capital.