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New dispute at Jerusalem basilica: unpaid water bills

Catholic World News - November 02, 2012

Administrators of Jerusalem’s Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre owe millions of dollars in unpaid water bills, the city’s water agency charges.

Hagihon, the water company that supplies the basilica, reports that the Greek Orthodox administrators have ignored bills since 2004. The Orthodox patriarchate argues that the basilica is exempt from bills under the terms of an agreement that dates back to the rule of the Ottoman empire. The basilica’s administrators contend that the old agreement still remains in place—a contention which the Israeli government has neither confirmed nor denied.

The dispute over water is the latest in a long-running series of arguments over legal rights and administrative privileges in the basilica, which has frequently been the focus of disputes between the Orthodox and Catholic caretakers who share responsibility for the church.

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