Palestinian Authority is Slowly Trying to Seize Christian Property in Bethlehem

Christians hold crosses as they take part in the Eastern and Orthodox Church’s Good Friday procession in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 13, 2012.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is slowly chipping away at Bethlehem’s dwindling Christian population by gradually claiming Christian property as its own, Israeli media reports. 

Tazpit Press (TPS) reported Sunday that 11 institutions associated with the Greek Orthodox Church signed a statement protesting the PA’s attempts to control the Plaza in front of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the place where many believe Jesus was born.

Theophilos III, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem said in the letter that the PA has been trying over the last few years to expropriate Christian lands in Bethlehem and turn them over the government.

The outcry from the Christian community reportedly became so widespread online that the Bethlehem City Council had to release a statement saying it does not intend to take Christian land.

However, a source told TPS that the PA has repeatedly tried to take over Christian land in Bethlehem in retaliation for the Orthodox Church selling land to Jews in Jerusalem.

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