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Russia expresses ‘deep concern’ over Jerusalem church land ruling

The Imperial Hotel next to Jaffa Gate in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City on November 29, 2019. (Gali Tibbon/AFP)
The Imperial Hotel next to Jaffa Gate in the Christian Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City on November 29, 2019. (Gali Tibbon/AFP)

Russia says it is “deeply concerned” after Israel’s top court ruled that a Jewish settler group legally purchased an East Jerusalem property from the Greek Orthodox Church.

The Ateret Cohanim organization, which seeks to “Judaize” East Jerusalem, bought three buildings from the church in a controversial deal struck in secret in 2004. The church then brought charges against Ateret Cohanim, claiming the properties were acquired illegally and without its permission.

“We are deeply concerned about the situation regarding the Christian presence in Jerusalem,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says in a statement, a week after the Supreme Court dismissed the church’s appeal.

“Such a decision is predictably detrimental to interfaith peace and raises legitimate concerns about the position of the Christian community in the Holy Land,” she adds.

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