Palestinian Christians protest plan to demolish homes

By The Associated Press

Over 100 Palestinian Christians staged a protest march Sunday against Israeli plans to demolish a church-related apartment complex near Har Homa.

The marchers, accompanied by Greek Orthodox priests, carried crosses and Palestinian flags as well as signs in Arabic and English reading, "Hands off our homes!"

Beit Sahour officials say that the Supreme Court is considering their challenge of an order to demolish the seven four-story structures built on lands owned by the Greek Orthodox church in an area between Beit Sahour and Har Homa.

Beit Sahour officials say the apartments are being built on area that is legally under its administration. Israel disputes the claim, and has said the builders have not obtained building permits from Israel.

The project, which was launched about 10 years ago, was meant to provide low-income housing for young Greek Orthodox families in Beit Sahour, a predominantly Christian town of 13,000, according to Suzan Sahori, a spokeswoman for Beit Sahour.

Sahori said a new Israeli road meant to speed settlers past Palestinian towns is being built behind the apartment complex.