30 June 2015

The human rights and Palestine solidarity organization BDS South Africa condemns Israel’s recent arrest and detainment of Palestinian Archbishop Theodosios Atallah Hanna. Over the past weekend Archbishop Hanna was arrested when he participated in a non-violent protest march against Israel’s illegal seizure of a Palestinian hospital which is part of the al-Baraka (“house of blessing”) Presbyterian church complex, north of Hebron in Palestine.

An international delegation from the Presbyterian church as well as other international peace activists took part in the protest march with Archbishop Hanna against the illegal Israeli seizure of the Palestinian hospital and church compound. According to the protestors the sale of the hospital and church compound is illegal under international and canonical law.

Palestinians claim that the seizure of the hospital and church compound are being used to establish an illegal Israeli settlement outpost which Israelis eventually want to have form part of the illegal Gush Etzion Israeli settlement bloc. Last month Israel’s Haaretz newspaper leaked details of the illegal seizure of al-Baraka hospital and church compound by a Jewish billionaire with the assistance of an Israeli settler. It is alleged  that the sale was made by employing a variety of shell corporations and charitable organizations to cover up the acquisition of the church property.

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ABOUT ARCHBISHOP HANNA

Archbishop Hanna is an outspoken critic of Israeli policies against fellow Palestinians – both Palestinian Christians and Muslims. He is also one of the Palestinian authors of the Palestinian Kairos Declaration, which articulates the views of Palestinian Christians and was inspired by the famous South African Kairos document.

Archbishop Hanna has previously said: “Israel desires to conceal the Christian dimension of the Palestinian issue. Israel attempts to present this conflict as a Jewish-Muslim religious conflict, and it also attempts to neutralize the Christian position, and therefore it is irritated by the growing Christian voices raised on the Palestinian issue. We [Palestinian Christian clergy] have always asserted that the Church in Palestine is there to serve all Palestinians for it is a church for the people. It is also a church that is deeply rooted in this land and the Arab Palestinian Christians and Muslims who live in it.”

Archbishop Hanna was ordained as a priest in 1991 and later ordained in 2005 as an Archbishop at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (also known as the Church of Resurrection) is within the Christian Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem in Palestine (currently illegally occupied by the Modern State of Israel). The site is believed to be where Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, and also contains the place where Jesus is said to have been buried and resurrected.

ISSUED BY KWARA KEKANA ON BEHALF OF BDS SOUTH AFRICA.
FOR COMMENT: Kwara Kekana 0740543826 or Muhammed Desai 0842119988
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