FaithWorld

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

(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.

Jerusalem bishop appeals Israel’s residency denial

jerusalem

( Jerusalem, September 14, 2010/Darren Whiteside )

Jerusalem’s Anglican bishop, a Palestinian, is engaged in a legal battle with Israel over its refusal to extend his residency permit. An Anglican official, who declined to be named, said Israel’s Interior Ministry had written to Bishop Suheil Dawani and accused him of improper land dealings on behalf of the church and the Palestinian Authority, allegations he denies. A spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry declined to comment, citing an upcoming court hearing.

Dawani was elected Bishop of the Diocese of Jerusalem in 2007, and as a non-Israeli was required by Israeli authorities to obtain temporary residency permits. These were granted to him in 2008 and 2009, but not last year.  Born in Nablus in the occupied West Bank,  Dawani 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.

The church official said the church had petitioned an Israeli court to order the Interior Ministry to grant new residency permits and a hearing had been set for May 18. In the meantime, Dawani’s lawyer said, it appeared no moves were imminent to deport him.