The Higher Presidential Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine was formed by a presidential decree issued by His Excellency President Mahmoud Abbas in 2012. Palestine distinguished itself with this committee, which is concerned with the follow-up of the churches’ affairs, legal, property, institutional matters, and more. The committee carries out its tasks according to the directives of the Palestinian presidency and in cooperation with official and local institutions, on local, regional, and international levels, in order to preserve the Christian Presence in the state of Palestine.

The Presidential Committee includes in its membership: 

Dr. Ramzi Khouri, Member of the PLO Executive Committee, Head of the Higher Presidential Committee for Churches Affairs in Palestine

Membership of:

Mr. Adnan Husseini

Mr. Mousa Hadid

Mr. Majdi Khalidi

Mr. Omar Awadallah

Mr. Amman Hijazi

Mr. Adnan Ghaith

Ms. Kholoud Daibes

Mr. Issa Kassissieh

Mr. Samir Hazboun

Mr. Maher Ayyad

Ms. Varsen Aghabekian

Ms. Amira Hanania, in addition to her Duties

Mr. Jihad Khair, in addition to his Duties

Mr. Yousef Barakat

Mr. Anton Hilo


Our Vision:

Building and developing a state of equal citizenship in which each person is free to exercise their rights and responsibilities without facing prejudice or being kept apart on the basis of their gender, race, religion, or culture. Additionally, they actively seek to maintain the Christian presence by fostering a prosperous and safe environment where everyone’s rights—including those of Christians are upheld, preserving the historical legacy of Christianity in the Holy Lands, defending the rights and properties of Christians, and strengthening their resilience.


Main Objectives: 

    • Strengthening the resiliency of Palestine’s Christian population and insuring unrestricted exercise of religious freedom.
    • Preserving the rights of the churches and their affiliated institutions and protecting their properties from threats and unlawful seizure.
    • Assisting in the development and growth of the churches and their affiliated institutions.
    • Promoting the principle of full equality before the law, and building a state of equal citizenship for all segments of the Palestinian people.
    • Preserving the Christian historical heritage, highlighting the Palestinian narrative and refuting the Israeli narrative regarding the history of the land and the church in the Holy Lands.
    • Actively seeking to decrease and effectively contribute to the phenomenon of Christian migration from their homeland. 
    • Media and worldwide consciousness to the Israeli occupation’s violations of Christian religious sites and sacred places.

Fields of Work:

On the international level

Through conferences and visits, the committee aims to bring the Palestinian situation and the issues of Christian presence to the attention of the global public. The Christian presence in Palestine, which has existed for centuries, is now under more threat than ever particularly in Jerusalem, which holds the largest concentration of holy sites and Christian traditions. Thus, the committee is active in organizing regular formal visits to various countries around the world, as well as receiving delegations from these and other countries, in order to raise general awareness about Palestinian issues, particularly the challenges faced by local churches and Christians in terms of increasing incitement to their presence, rights, and properties. Additionally, the committee organized an advisory team consisting of clergy, political and Palestinian personalities to portray the Holy Lands’ historical and religious character. 

The committee was able to organize a number of international conferences and symposiums, including the Atlanta conference, which took place in 2016 at the Carter Center in Georgia, United States. It also effectively contributed to transferring and displaying the project “Bethlehem… A New Birth” related to the Church of the Nativity, which toured several European countries including Paris and Geneva, where the exhibition displayed important images of the restoration of the Church of the Nativity in the city of Bethlehem.

legal Sector

The committee works to strengthen the status of local churches in Palestine at the local level by issuing presidential decrees that exempt them from fees and taxes, protect the properties of Christian churches, including their lands and endowments, and ensure the freedom to practice religious ceremonies. The committee, through a specialist legal staff, investigates every case of assault on these properties and ensures that the law is enforced by the state’s executive units. In contrast, the group defends local churches whose properties are targeted for seizure by radical settlers, particularly in occupied Jerusalem.

Projects and Development Sector

The Presidential Committee in Palestine implements a general grant program designated for the churches of Palestine and all their affiliated institutions. The program receives yearly allocations from the Palestinian National Fund, the General Treasury of the State of Palestine, and grants from other sources including the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

The program aims to support the implementation of social and economic development initiatives in Palestine through Churches and their various institutions. It also helps fulfill the missions of the churches, fosters their resilience, promotes social cohesion, and empowers the churches and their surrounding communities in the face of ongoing challenges under the fierce occupation.

The program provides funds to various projects in the fields of construction, rehabilitation and restoration including all needed supplies to increase all aspects of institutional performance, development, sustainability and input in the Christian communities in Palestine in the most optimal way to reach all the targeted sectors in the parishes and surrounding communities.

Priorities are set mainly on the target sectors where health, education and the physical status and sustainable operational needs of churches and institutions structures are high key priority

The process is managed by the Projects Department in HCC and under supervision of a special Projects and Grants Committee and financially independent within the General HCC Budget all in order to ensure the highest governance procedures.

In order to optimize the benefits of grants, all Churches and their institutions are granted TAX EXEMPT by Presidential Decree. The committee works on 10–20 projects a year on average; these projects range from building projects to financial donations that support events and activities for ongoing church projects for the benefit of the greatest number of targeted groups.

Christian Celebrations

The presidential committee supports Christian holiday celebrations, particularly Christmas and Easter, in various Palestinian cities and villages by covering some of the costs and providing financial contributions, including lighting the Christmas tree in seven major cities and six villages in the national provinces, as well as participating in the planning and arrangement, from decorating the Christmas tree to organizing the celebrations.

The Committee also solely funds the “Christmas Parade” project, as well as distributes greeting cards and cash aid to hundreds of Palestinian families in need. It is worth noting that official holidays such as Christmas and Easter are national holidays in Palestine.

Youth Sector

The committee seeks to meet the needs of church-affiliated scout groups and sport organizations in order to assure their continuous operation, activity, and growth of future generations.

Education Sector

Reducing the financial burden on families in need by contributing to the payment of university and school fees, as well as assisting Christian educational institutions in implementing development projects and help in facilitating the governmental procedures.

Health Sector

Contributing to the cost of medical procedures, health insurance, and other expenses for families in need, the elderly, and persons with special needs, as well as assisting medical institutions to upgrade their work and equipment.

Culture and Awareness

Contributing to the publication of seven cultural, historical, and awareness books concerning the Christian presence in Palestine, as well as producing numerous visual presentations for local platforms and social media channels. Supervising the broadcast of Sunday Holy Masses on Palestine Television and coordinating cooperation between the General Broadcasting Corporation and the churches.