Jerusalem Patriarchate: Definitely loses legal battle over real estate in Old Town

Jerusalem Patriarchate: Definitely loses legal battle over real estate in Old Town
Jerusalem Patriarchate: Definitely loses legal battle over real estate in Old Town

The Supreme Court rejected the appeal filed by the legal advisers of the Patriarchate, for a review, in the light of new facts, of the first instance decision that acquitted the settlers.

A statement issued by the Jerusalem Patriarchate at midnight stated that the decision of the Supreme Court of Israel lacks any legal or logical basis, and maintains that it stands firm in its efforts to repel racist policies and the far right. of the multiple identities of the city of Jerusalem and the imposition of a new reality on it.

The CNN Greece contacted the legal advisor of Patriarch Theophilos III, Assad Mazawi, who, after confirming that “the legal process has come to an end”, states that the Patriarchate of Jerusalem will now use all its influence, and the legal weapons that remain at its disposal, to prevent the eviction of the protected tenants who are still reside on his two properties in the Old Town, and ensure that they will not be occupied by settlers.

The court ruling paves the way for the transfer of the two properties to the extremist Jewish organization Ateret Cohanim. These are two historic hotels, the Imperial and Petra, located at a strategic point near the Gate of Jaffa, in the Christian quarter. The two properties, owned by the Jerusalem Patriarchate, were transferred in 2005 – typically leased for 99 years – to settlers in a controversial process that has been described as scandalous, provoking both a wave of reactions within the Patriarchate and internationally, as well as Arab outrage.

The significance of the two properties lies precisely in the fact that they are located in Christian Quarter, in which the Israeli settlers sought to enter through the purchase of land in order to alter, as alleged, its demographic character to the detriment of the Arab population. The so-called real estate wars are raging in the city, as the State of Israel can not officially take land from the Muslim or Christian neighborhood and the settlers undertake this work, through long-term rent or purchase. She is the cause that the transfer of real estate caused the strong resistances of the Palestinians and the sequel remains to be seen.

CNN Greece / Evangelia Bifi

It is recalled that the negotiations for the transfer of the real estate were done, almost secretly, by the then financial manager of the Patriarchate, Nikolaos Papadima, who obtained a relevant authorization from Ireneos. The sale process had been described as a scandal, causing a stir in Greece and Israel. The Hagiotaphic Brotherhood revolted because it believed that the Patriarch had betrayed them and sold the land of the Patriarchate. He was eventually dethroned and imprisoned for many years in a room of the Patriarchate, where he remained refusing to surrender his throne until his health deteriorated and he was transported to Greece for treatment.

It is worth noting that at the time of the events, negotiations were still underway regarding the final status of Jerusalem, in the framework of the Oslo Accords.

The next steps

Following the rejection by the Supreme Court of the Patriarchate’s appeal for reconsideration of the case, the legal means to overturn the decision are exhausted and the legal process for the eviction of the properties by the “protected tenants” formally begins. Already at the Petra Hotel, one floor has already been occupied by settlers, with the help of the Police, because formally the terms of the contract with the Kires family separated him from the rest of the building.

Until a court order is issued for the evacuation of the properties, the Patriarchate will make efforts in order to keep the protected tenants, who have been granted the exploitation of the properties, and to prevent the entry of settlers. At the same time, the Patriarchate is expected to continue to exert pressure in international forums to exert influence in the State of Israel.

At the legal level, the effort will now focus on keeping protected tenants on the property. These tenants, despite the court ruling, will not lose their protection status and will remain within the property. The Patriarchate will now try to do what is required to ensure that they remain there.

Exclusive statements of the legal advisor of the Patriarch

“Unfortunately, the legal battle has come to an end,” he said, speaking exclusively to CNN Greece, the legal advisor of the Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, Assad Mazawi, stressing, however, that the Jerusalem Patriarchate will use all its influence, and the legal weapons that remain at its disposal, to prevent the eviction of the protected tenants who still reside on its properties in the Old City, and to ensure that they are not occupied by settlers.

Citing the chronicle of the case, Assad Mazawi states that “the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate was trying to prevent right-wing extremists from occupying its property at the Jaffa Gate in this legal battle that began about 15 years ago.”

“After ten years of legal proceedings, in June 2017 the District Court in Jerusalem approved the agreements, which we insisted were fraudulent, between the Patriarchate – and at that time Mr. Papadimas – which succeeded in securing the authority of then Patriarch Ireneos. “The court ruled that the agreements were legal,” he said.

“The Patriarchate of Jerusalem appealed the decision before the Supreme Court, which was rejected. Later, however, one of the men of the extremist organization of Jewish settlers, Atret Kohanim, ‘passed’ to the side of the Patriarchate and gave us much information that we did not have, and this information and data was sufficient to initiate a new legal process, asking the Supreme Court to reopen the case and annul the original verdict “.

“Unfortunately, today, this process that started in 2019 has come to an end, and the Supreme Court of Israel has decided that it will not reopen the case – despite the new information we have gathered,” said Mr. Mazawi.

As for the next steps, he states that the Patriarchate will make every effort in order to keep the protected tenants of the Patriarchate, who have been granted the exploitation of the properties, and to prevent the entry of settlers.

“At the same time, the Patriarchate will continue to press international governments to exert influence on the State of Israel to intervene. [στην υπόθεση]”, States the legal advisor of Patriarch Theofilos.

Clarifying the whole context of the much-praised case, Mr. Mazawi states:

“There are two levels of legal battle. The first – which ended – was the attempt of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem to annul the first instance decision of 2004. This battle is over, with today’s verdict. But there is a second level – that of keeping protected tenants on the property. “These tenants, despite today’s verdict, will not lose their protection status and will remain within the property, and the Patriarchate will do whatever is required to ensure that they will remain there.”

Ateret Kohanim, for her part, has already begun proceedings to evict the tenants from 2019 and will clearly insist. Part of the Petra Hotel is already occupied by settlers, with the Jerusalem Patriarchate awaiting a District Court ruling their.

Jerusalem Patriarchate: The decision lacks any legal or logical basis

The Jerusalem Patriarchate said in a statement that the decision by the Israeli Supreme Court lacks any legal or rational basis, and that it stands firm in its efforts to repel racist policies and the far-right extremist agenda in Israel. identity of the city of Jerusalem and the imposition of a new reality on it.

“Today, the Supreme Court of Israel issued a decision rejecting the last attempts of the Patriarchate to annul the decision issued against it in July 2017, through which the extremist Israeli organization, Atret Kohanim, succeeded in expropriating its property. Of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem at the Gate of Jaffa (Bab Al-Khalil) in Jerusalem, and this decision comes despite the legal battle that the Patriarchate has waged for the last seventeen years.

The Patriarchate considers the court ruling unfair and devoid of any legal or logical basis, as the extremist organization and its supporters have resorted to dishonest and illegal methods to acquire Christian real estate in one of the most important sites of Arab Islamic and Christian Islam.

In recent years, the Patriarchate has launched a costly legal, media and diplomatic campaign in the judicial and diplomatic spheres to pressure Israeli authorities to prevent extremist organizations from seizing these assets, but These efforts have not yielded pressure from these extremist organizations and those who support them in decision-making circles.

The Patriarchate reaffirms that it will continue to support the Palestinian occupants in these Christian properties and that it stands firm in its fight against racist policies and the far-right extremist agenda in Israel, which aims to erode its multi-ethnic and multi-ethnic identity. imposition of a new reality within it “.


The article is in Greek

Tags: Jerusalem Patriarchate loses legal battle real estate Town

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