Occupied Jerusalem: 5 May, 2001 - The Israeli occupation authorities in East Jerusalem have threatened to deport a prominent Christian Orthodox clergyman for criticizing Jewish terror and vandalism against the Palestinian people.
Church officials in East Jerusalem said Israeli occupation officials last week strongly protested statements by Dr. Hanna Atallah, spokesman for the Orthodox Church in the Holy Land, which the officials said were critical of Israeli terror and repression against Palestinian civilians.
The Zionist regime also reportedly warned the orthodox church against appointing Atallah as the "Orthodox Patriarch of Al-Quds," arguing that a step as such would cause irreparable damage to the already strained relations between the church and the Israeli occupation authorities.
The Palestinian daily al Hayatul Jadida reported 5 May that Israel actually threatened to deport Atallah if he was elected "Patriarch," on the grounds that it is not permissible from the Zionist view point that a Palestinian be allowed to sit at the helm of the Orthodox church in the Holy Land.
Al-hayatul Jadida quoted high-ranking church officials as saying that "the church doesn't give much attention to Israeli threats in this regard since the Israeli government has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of the church."
The Zionist regime of Israel has been trying relentlessly to weaken the native Palestinian church by encouraging rival Christian groups and factions not answerable to native Christians in Palestine.
Moreover, the Zionist regime has also created its own "Christian authority" in Palestine, namely the so-called Christian embassy in Jerusalem.
That "embassy," say critics, " doesn't represent the true church since it is staffed with and run by Zionists disguised as Christian fundamentalists who often raise money to support building Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
Last week, a Christian leader from Beit Sahur, 6 miles south of Jerusalem, opined that the "Christian embassy in Jerusalem represents the ideas of Meir Kahana more than it does the ideals of Christ."
Kahana was a Jewish terrorist leader, assassinated in New York nearly ten years ago, who advocated the total expulsion of all non-Jews from Palestine.