by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Three contested East Jerusalem properties, the subject of a land dispute over the last 15 years, were finally sold to a Jewish organization after Israel’s Supreme Court overruled a protest by the Greek Orthodox Church on June 11th.
The Petra Hostel and Imperial Hotel near Jaffa Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, as well as Muzamiya House, a residential property in the Muslim Quarter, were sold to Ateret Cohanim, which has been buying up properties in East Jerusalem.
“The settlers want to take over our heritage,” Issa Musleh, a spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Church who in the past supported the dismissal of a clergyman who called on Arab Christians to serve in the Israeli military, told AFP.
Critics of the sale, such as Palestinian Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah Hanna, called the sale “illegal and illegitimate,” echoing claims by the church itself that the properties were acquired through a backdoor deal with a corrupt church official who acted on his own, despite the Israeli Supreme Court having ruled that no evidence of the illicit deal had been presented.
Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day war and annexed it, meaning a Palestinian population of 320,000 Palestinians remained after the end of hostilities, but the Jewish population there has swelled to 210,000 in recent years.
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