|Israel Resource Review
||29th April, 2005
of Jerusalem Leased a Large Compound in the Old City
Investigative Journalist, Maariv
There is an uproar in the Greek Orthodox church: approximately a
month and a half ago, when Ma'ariv revealed the enormous deal in
which the Greek Church of Jerusalem leased a large compound in
the Old City to the Jews, Patriarch Irineos I hurried to deny
it. Now Ma'ariv reveals the lease agreement itself.
The contract reconfirms the precise details that were revealed,
calling into question the Patriarch's story who in some interviews
denied the existence of the deal and in others its validity by claiming
that the person who signed it did not have the authority to do so. The
contract, which is entitled "Lease Agreement," was signed in Jerusalem
on August 16, 2004, and it is valid for 198 years (which effectively
makes the deal like a sale). It was signed on the one hand by the
buyers' attorney and on the other by Nikolas Papadimas, the director of
the finance department in the Patriarchy and one of Irineos's closest
associates. The deal was signed only after Papadimas submitted a power
of attorney which the Patriarch gave him at the office of attorney
Yaakov Miron, allowing him to lease the Church's property for
It will be remembered that Ma'ariv reported that Papadimas leased the
Imperial and Petra Hotels, which are located near Jaffa Gate, to two
groups of Jewish buyers, together with several nearby stores adjacent to
the Arab market. Until the agreement was signed, all these properties
were held and operated by Palestinian people who live in East Jerusalem.
According to the content of the lease agreement: Written in Jerusalem
on August 16, 2004 between the Patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church
of Jerusalem by means of Irineos I, the Greek Orthodox Patriarch, via
power of attorney from May 6, 2004 (hereinafter referred to as the
Patriarch) on the first part, and on the second part the ________
Company (Ma'ariv has withheld the name). The Patriarch is the exclusive
owner of the property known as the Imperial Hotel, which is part of the
building located at Omar Ibn el-Hatib square, Jaffa Gate, the Old City
of Jerusalem. This part of the building includes all the area of all the
floors above the ground floor, the ceiling and the air space above it,
the entrance to the hotel and the emergency exit on the ground floor,
the stairwell between the side entrance and the emergency exit and the
entrance floor, the stores on the entrance floor.
The signatures of Papamidas are prominent on the contract, and beside
them is a stamp reading "Director, Finance Department of the Greek
Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem." The contract is eight pages long, and
contains two sketches in Arabic of the large building.
This is the larger of the two contracts signed that day. The second
contract deals with the leasing of the Petra Hotel.
Since Ma'ariv revealed the deal, the Patriarch's chair has been
rocking forcefully. Arab sources, members of the Greek Orthodox church
in Israel, together with the upper echelon of the Palestinian Authority
and high-ranking members of the Jordanian administration, criticized him
harshly for transferring the land to Jewish hands. Sources in the
priesthood of the church criticized the giving of the church's many
properties to Papadimas, a young Greek man who is not at all religious.
Likewise, the Patriarch was criticized a good deal from within because
some of his stories were found to be untrue.
In this context it should be noted that the Patriarch was caught in
the past telling versions of events that later turned out to be
inaccurate. For example, after his connections with Yasser Arafat were
revealed, Irineos claimed that he did not know Arafat at all. This claim
was disproved when a picture of the two men embracing and kissing was
published in Ma'ariv.
In recent weeks several high-ranking church officials dared to speak
publicly against Irineos, calling for his ouster. Only last weekend,
when the church celebrated Palm Sunday, nearly all the bishops in the
Patriarchate decided to hold an "Italian strike," and when the Patriarch
arrived at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher he discovered that the
bishops had remained at home and did not come to worship with him. Upon
his departure from the church Irineos was surrounded by hundreds of
people who called him names and tried to attack him. Irineos left the
place under police protection.
Tomorrow the Greek Church will celebrate the Resurrection Service,
and following rumors recently circulating throughout the Old City that
Ma'ariv would reveal the documents, a great deal of tension is expected
during prayers and around the church.
At the same time, the church awaits the decision of Bartolomeos, the
Patriarch of Constantinople, who serves as the head patriarch of all the
patriarchs. After high-ranking priests in Israel contacted him with a
demand to dismiss Irineos, members of the Patriarchate are now awaiting
This article ran in Maariv on April 29th, 2005
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Official Palestinian Authority
Israeli Army Murders Old Arab
Woman With "Radiation Machine" at Checkpoint
Palestinian news service charged Thursday that Israel
deliberately killed "an aged woman" with an American-made
"radiation" machine designed to detect bombs and guns.
The item re-appeared today on the front page of Al-Hayat-Al-Jadeeda, a
Palestinian newspaper controlled directly by Mahmoud Abbas's FATAH faction
of the PLO.
It was only the latest example of the atrocity story motif, that has
included phony reports of deliberate Israeli murders of Palestinian
children, which has come to typify Palestinian incitement against Israel and America under the new regime of Dr. Abbas who succeeded Yasser Arafat as the Palestinian leader.
"An aged woman died late on Wednesday at the Rafah crossing after being
subjected to the Israeli radioactive detection device installed at the Rafah crossing to screen Palestinian travelers," asserted the official WAFA news agency controlled by PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
"Medics at Rafah said that the 55-year-old Fatema Abu Ubeid, of Rafah, died
15 minutes after she was subjected to the radial spy machine [sic] (axtrai)
[sic], which Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) set up for searching the
Palestinian passengers passing through the point," declared the WAFA
bulletin on its English language website.
The report also appeared earlier in WAFA's Arabic language site (used by
Palestinian newspapers, radio and television), and it continued to be
displayed on the site today (Friday, April 29, 2005).
The strong charges are part of a consistent campaign this week by the
Palestinian media against the use of advanced radio-wave machines at border
checkpoints, following the Palestinian closure of their side of the border
checkpoint in Gaza this week for several hours to protest.
"The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) decided on Tuesday to close
Rafah cross point in a protest against Israeli use of a radiation device
for searching the Palestinian travelers," declared the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds in a front page story Wednesday (April 27), echoing the WAFA report in Arabic.
The device in question, according to Israeli security officials, is actually the SafeView Millimeter Wave Radar - an American made "advanced portal using millimeter wave holographic technology to screen passengers for weapons and explosives."
In addition to pressuring Israel to stop using the advanced non-radiation detection machine, the Palestinian charges fit the new, somewhat more sophisticated pattern of propaganda used in the last four
months under the regime of Dr. Abbas.
Unlike the propaganda of the Arafat period, the official Palestinian media-particularly the official television from Gaza-have largely stopped directly encouraging young boys to become "martyrs" through the airing of sexually suggestive or gory film montages and heated music videos and audio
However, under Dr. Abbas, the Palestinian media have actually stepped up the use of incendiary mosque speeches broadcast on Palestinian radio and
television-where both Israel and America are regularly attacked--as well as
increased use of code-words in Arabic such as "resistance operations" to
describe attacks on Israelis.
During the Arafat regime, Arafat himself, his wife and the Palestinian
media frequently accused Israel of using "radioactive weapons" against the
Palestinians such as "Uranium artillery shells" and "uranium bullets," as
well as "poison gas."
Suha Arafat, who inherited some of Arafat's hidden money, accused Israel
of deliberately poisoning Palestinian water supplies, and this theme, too,
has re-surfaced periodically--in Palestinian newspapers and Palestinian
radio--since Abbas succeeded Arafat as PLO chairman in December and as PA
chairman in January.
Dr. Abbas, who studied at the KGB-run Patrice Lumumba University in
Moscow in the 1980's, has been credited by both Western and Israeli media
with having tamed the incitement in the Palestinian press, but since his
election in January he has generally avoided condemning violence against
After several Palestinian rockets fell in Israel this week, Dr. Abbas
called the attacks a "deviation" from the "Palestinian consensus" and
"contrary to Palestinian interests," but he did not condemn the attack or
the attackers, despite reports to the contrary in the Western and Israeli
Dr. Michael Widlanski teaches political communication and comparative
politics at the Rothberg School of Hebrew University. His doctorate,
"Palestinian Broadcast Media In the Palestinian State-Building Process:
Patterns of Influence and Control," was based on eight years of research
involving more than 7,000 hours of monitoring Palestinian radio
in Arabic as well as television and newspaper surveys. Widlanski
was the NYTimes campus correspondent at Columbia University,
1974-1976, a reporter-researcher in the NYTimes Jerusalem
bureau, 1980-82, Middle East Correspondent for The Cox
Newspapers/Atlanta Constitution/Boston Globe, 1982-89.
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US AID Announces New Assistance for Palestinian Education -
to Eliminate Anti-semitic Curriculum
US AID PRESS RELEASE: April 29th, 2005
US AID press release speaks for itself: Allocation of US AID
funds to the Palestinian Authority educational system, with
absolutely no requirement for that system to eliminate its
anti-semitic curriculum, which can be viewed at www.edume.org - db]
BEIT DAJAN, West Bank - American and Palestinian officials inaugurated a new wing to the local primary school Thursday, expanding the facility's capacity by three grades and allowing older students to study in their own neighborhood.
The new wing of the Frush Beit Dajan Co-Ed School includes four classrooms and a teachers' room. The school used to accommodate students only up to the sixth grade - forcing older children to travel 17 kilometers to schools in Jiftlek or Nassarieh.
The new classrooms will enable the students to continue their education close to home until the ninth grade. Teachers say they also expect the new classrooms to sharply reduce the drop-out rate among the school's 200 students.
The American people contributed $88,000 to the project through the United States Agency for International Development (US AID). The Frush Beit Dajan Village Council chipped in another $7,000 in the form of designs and site supervision.
Present at the ribbon-cutting were Palestinian Authority Chief Negotiator Dr. Saeb Erekat, Jericho Governor Sami Musallam and the head of the Frush Beit Dajan Village Council Khader Hanish. James Bever, Director of US AID's West Bank/Gaza Mission, and Barbara Belding, US AID's Director of General Development, represented the U.S. Government.
"The American Government is committed to the development of the West Bank and Gaza and to improving conditions here," said Bever. "We hope that this project will provide students with a safe and comfortable learning environment, especially during the hot summer months."
The school expansion was implemented by ANERA under US AID's Job Opportunities through Basic Services (JOBS) program that aims to generate employment opportunities for Palestinians. The project was completed in cooperation with the Village Council and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and generated more than 1,000 person days of employment.
US AID has spent more than $1.5 billion in the West Bank and Gaza to combat poverty, create jobs, improve education, build roads and water systems, construct and equip medical clinics, and promote good governance.
Over the past four years, US AID projects have generated more than 2.8 million person-days of employment in the West Bank and Gaza.
Press Release issued by Sylvana Foa,Public Affairs
Section, US AID-West Bank/Gaza Mission, Office: 972-3-511-4846,
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