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Church Denies Israeli Municipality Use of its Property for Lights Festival

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JERUSALEM, June 4, 2013 (WAFA) – The Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem said Tuesday that it will not allow the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem to use church property in the Old City for a lights festival because of Israeli police mistreatment of Christians during their holidays.

A statement by the church spokesman Issa Musleh said the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III has told the municipality of its objections to the use of its property in any way for the festival, which he said “does not reflect in any way the true identity of Jerusalem.”

Musleh said that at the time Israeli police attack worshippers and religious men during Christian holidays, particularly during the Saturday Holy Fire, close roads in the face of worshippers, deny freedom of worship in Jerusalem for Christians from Gaza and West Bank, Israeli fanatics attack churches, cemeteries and religious people, monks are held for interrogation as was the case with the spiritual leader for Ramallah Elias Awwad who was held and interrogated at Tel Aviv airport, and other measures against the Christian and Muslim holy places, “It would not be sensible that anyone should expect any cooperation to make successful festivities not related to us or Jerusalem, which are also sources of big annoyance to the residents of the holy city through the behavior of the visitors and participants based on extreme nationalist reasons and their attacks on the residents of the city, which mostly go unpunished or without accountability.”

M.S./F.R.

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