IOF arrest Bishop protesting illegal seizure of church property

Palestine, June 27, 2015


Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Saturday morning arrested Bishop Atallah Hanna during his participation in a march protesting the illegal seizure of a hospital building which is part of al-Baraka church, north of Hebron.

Bethlehem area Coordinator for the National Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, Hassan Briggah, said that the IOF arrested Bishop Hanna during his peaceful participation in a march demonstrating against the illegal seizure and subsequent sale of Beit al-Baraka hospital, part of al-Baraka church.

A delegation from the Presbyterian church as well as international and Israeli activists participated in the march against the sale of Beit al-Baraka, a hospital which provided medical services to Palestinians as part of al-Baraka church services. The sale is illegal under international and canonical law.

In an interview with PNN, Briggah said that according to international law, the sale of the church must be considered as void because any church services must be permitted to continue. He pointed to legal evidence in areas such as Bethlehem and Nazareth, as well as other Palestinian cities..

He told PNN that the group of protesters set off to al-Arroub refugee camp where the Israeli army was besieging Beit al-Baraka, preventing the demonstrators from entering the property.

The formation of a committee to protect Beit al-Baraka was announced. Activist Younis Arar, coordinator of Popular Committee in the south welcomed the Palestinian church delegates and gave Pastor Danny Awad of the Presbyterian Church a detailed explanation of the role of Beit al-Baraka in the provision of medical services to the Palestinian people.

Finally, Israeli activists from ‘Fighters for Peace’ spoke to show that Israeli policy should be condemned by all religions.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz last month leaked details of the seizure of Beit al-Baraka hospital by a Jewish billionaire, the sale having been allegedly made through a fake Norwegian real estate company. Days after publication of this illegal seizure, the sale process halted, however Israeli Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, subsequently decided that there was no legal impediment to the sale of the building.

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