Palestinians sue Greek Orthodox church over land sales to Israelis
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Palestinians sue Greek Orthodox church over land sales to Israelis

300 Palestinian Christians file complaint in PA court against patriarchate for potentially capital offense of 'selling land to the enemy'

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III (C) speaks during a press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman on August 12, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)
Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III (C) speaks during a press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman on August 12, 2017. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

A lawyer said more than 300 Palestinian Christians and associations have filed a complaint in a Palestinian court against the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate for allegedly selling property to Israelis.

The church is a major property owner in the Holy Land. The Greek clergy has rejected demands by the Palestinian flock to open the books on property deals.

Nabil Mushahwar said Thursday that a complaint over “selling land to the enemy” — potentially a capital offense on the Palestinian Authority — was filed with the Palestinian attorney general.

The church declined to comment Thursday.

Last month, an Israeli court upheld the sale of prime church property to companies representing Jewish groups that seek an expanded presence in Jerusalem’s Old City.

The church had challenged the deal as an illegal transaction by the previous patriarch.

The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III announced earlier this month that his church will appeal the court decision to uphold the sale.

The Old City was captured by Israel in the 1967 Six Day war, along with the rest of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and other territories.

In recent months there have been several reports of the Church selling multi-million dollar parcels of land in west Jerusalem, Jaffa and the historic Roman-era port of Caesaria.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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