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    A demonstrator reacts during a protest against the visit of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem January 6, 2018

    PHOTOS, VIDEOS: Patriarch of Jerusalem Comes Under Attack From Palestinians

    © REUTERS / Mussa Qawasma
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    Christian Palestinians were chanting "traitor, traitor!" as they cast stones and water bottles at the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem’s car during his visit to the occupied West Bank on Saturday.

    Hundreds of Palestinians blocked Patriarch Theophilos III's convoy as he headed for a church in Bethlehem to attend an Orthodox Christmas mass.

    Palestinian police had to intervene as three cars in the convoy, excluding the patriarch’s vehicle, had their windows smashed in the protest.

    Palestinian security forces push away demonstrators from the convoy of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, during a protest against his visit, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem January 6, 2018
    © REUTERS / Mussa Qawasma
    Palestinian security forces push away demonstrators from the convoy of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, during a protest against his visit, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem January 6, 2018

    The reason for the discord appears to be a vast territory in the Holy Land owned by Greek Orthodox Church and now leased out long-term to residents. 

    A demonstrator reacts during a protest against the visit of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem January 6, 2018
    © REUTERS / Mussa Qawasma
    A demonstrator reacts during a protest against the visit of Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III, in the West Bank city of Bethlehem January 6, 2018

    Recently, the Church authorities caused controversy when they expressed their willingness to sell the land to private investors to pay off their debts.

    Israeli media have reported that the deals presumably include properties in occupied Jerusalem, likewise in the port cities of Caesarea and Jaffa. They named some Jewish and Israeli investors as potential buyers, Gulfnews wrote.  Palestinians, meanwhile, strongly oppose to the Greek Church selling lands to Israelis – a move they regard as treason.

    Elyeef Sayegh, one of Saturday’s demonstrators, said: "What happened today is a message to the Palestinian Authority and to Jordan that we will not allow this traitor to stay in the Church."

    READ MORE: Demonstration at US Embassy in London Over Trump's Jerusalem Recognition (VIDEO)

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    land, church, protests, attack, Christmas, Orthodox Christian church, Palestine, Israel, West Bank, Jerusalem
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