Rice, Hamas back anti-Israel Greek patriarch

Tuesday, October 23, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

The Hamas terrorist organization found common ground with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Monday when its Gaza-based leadership heaped praise on the man who would be Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem.

In a rare peaceful visit to Christian property in the Gaza Strip, the area's Muslim overlords arrived at Gaza City's main Greek Orthodox church to publicly laud Theofilos III for his firm refusal to sell church-owned lands to Israel and his efforts to nullify deals struck between his predecessor and the Jewish state, reported WorldNetDaily.

The Hamas endorsement came just days after Rice warmly greeted and took part in a photo-op with Theofilos during what was described as an emotional visit to Bethlehem.

The American's apparent support for Theofilos came despite Israel's protests over his election as Greek Orthodox patriarch of Jerusalem. The Israeli authorities maintain that Theofilos gained the needed votes over his predecessor, Irineos, by striking a deal with church officials whereby he would work to regain former church lands sold to Israel.

Regional laws require any incoming Greek Orthodox patriarch to gain the approval of Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Only Israel has refused to recognize Theofilos.

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