Israel grants residency to Jerusalem’s Anglican bishop, a Palestinian

September 27, 2011

(A general view of The Dome of the Rock is seen from the Christian quarter in Jerusalem's Old City January 12, 2011/Baz Ratner)

Israeli authorities have granted a residency permit to Jerusalem’s Anglican bishop, Palestinian Suheil Dawani, after months of legal wrangling, the clergyman said in a message to his supporters on Tuesday. Dawani was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem in 2007, and as a non-Israeli is required by Israeli authorities to obtain a temporary residence permit. This was granted in 2008 and 2009, but he was turned down in 2010.

“It is with great pleasure, and with God’s help, that I and my family have received our ‘Residency Permits’,” Dawani said in his e-mail message to followers.

A church official told Reuters the bishop and his family had received their permits on Monday and that they would have to be renewed when they expire, but declined to give further details. During the period Dawani was refused residency, Israel’s Interior Ministry had written to him accusing him of improper land dealings on behalf of the church and the Palestinian Authority, a ministry official said.

The bishop, who continued to live in Arab East Jerusalem during the period, had denied the allegations. Dawani, born in Nablus in the occupied West Bank, lives with his family in East Jerusalem. Both areas were captured by Israel in a 1967 war. Israel annexed East Jerusalem after the conflict in a step that is not internationally recognized.

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