Israeli court upholds Orthodox church land sales to settlers

Israeli court upholds Orthodox church land sales to settlers

Israel's Supreme Court has ruled against the Greek Orthodox Church in a long-running legal battle over the sale of three properties in predominantly Palestinian parts of Jerusalem's Old City to a Jewish settler group.

The ruling handed down on Monday was part of a protracted dispute over the 2004 sale of Old City properties, including two Palestinian-run hotels, to Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli organization that aims to increase the Jewish presence in Palestinian areas of the contested holy city.

The church had claimed that its former patriarch secretly sold the buildings without authorization.

Most Orthodox Christians in Jerusalem are Palestinian, and the sale of the properties to Israelis sparked outrage. Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians seek east Jerusalem as their capital of a future state. [AP]

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