Arab Christians demand annulment of land deals with Israel

Sunday, June 10, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Arab Christians of the Greek Orthodox Church in Israel protested on Saturday over the failure of their newly-installed patriarch, Theophilus III, to retake church property in Jerusalem that his predecessor had sold to Israeli investors.

Some 1,000 Arab Christians took part in the demonstration, marching through Jerusalem's Old City carrying signs calling for Theophilus' dismissal and for the Palestinian Authority to retract its recognition of him as head of the local Greek Orthodox Church.

Several years ago it was revealed that Theophilus' predecessor, Patriarch Ireneos, had over the course of many years directly negotiated the sale of church property to both private Israeli investors and the Israeli government.

Many Israeli state institutions, including the Knesset, are built on lands formerly owned by the Greek Orthodox Church.

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