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Israeli court approves Jerusalem church land sale to settler group

Israel’s top court has given final approval for the 2004 sale of properties by the Greek Orthodox Church to a Jewish pro-settlement organization in mainly Palestinian areas of annexed east Jerusalem.

In its ruling earlier today, the Supreme Court rejected the church’s appeal against a district court’s 2017 approval of the same deal.

Three companies linked to a group named Ateret Cohanim in 2004 secured the long-term lease of three buildings owned by the Greek Orthodox Church — the Petra hostel and the New Imperial Hotel, both located by the Jaffa Gate, and a residential building in the Muslim Quarter.

Ateret Cohanim works to “Judaize” East Jerusalem in its entirety, by purchasing real estate in the city’s Palestinian areas through front companies.

The deal makes Ateret Cohanim the owner of the majority of the properties between the Old City’s Jaffa Gate and Arab market.

— AFP

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