The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem released a statement on Wednesday saying Israeli court decisions allowing the seizure of church property by Israeli settler groups are unfair.
The property in question is located in the Jaffa Gate area of the Old City of Jerusalem, in the southern West Bank area. On June 10, the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition to stop the sale of the church property to Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing settlers organization.
The Patriarchate declared that the court’s decision will be challenged further, stating “Our legal teams, in cooperation with experts in international law, are studying all the possibilities available to annul the deal to seize the properties at Jaffa Gate.”
The statement continued, asserting that the Patriarchate will continue to meet with international heads of state and religious leaders to stress that the seizure “will have negative effects on the Christian presence in the Holy City.”
The statement concluded by noting “The existence of a vibrant Christian community in Jerusalem is essential to maintaining a historically diverse society and to achieve peace in this city.” It then added that the Church will continue to support the property’s current tenants, who are considered protected by law, to serve as a safeguard from a takeover by illegal Israeli settlers.