The Higher Committee of Churches Affairs in Palestine was formed by a Presidential decree issued by President Mahmoud Abbas on 05/23/2012. This is the first time that an independent committee is established in Palestine to follow up on the affairs of churches and Christian places of worship, whether: legal, institutional, or real estate, to promote the principles of full equality in front of the law and to build a state of equal citizenship for all the Palestinians. The Committee performs its functions in accordance with directives by the Palestinian Presidency and in cooperation with local official institutions, and on regional and international levels.
The Committee is chaired by Dr. Ramzi Khoury, Minister, the general director of the Palestine National Fund and membership of:
1. Mr. Ziad Bandak, Minister, Chairman of the Nativity Church Restoration Committee.
2. Mr. Ali Muhanna, Representative of the Presidency, Advisor to the President for Legal Affairs.
3. Mr. Issa Kasseessieh, State of Palestine’s ambassador to the Vatican.
4. Mr. Adnan Gheith, Governor of Jerusalem.
5. Mr. Ammar Hijazi, Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
6. Mr. Jeris Qamseya, Representative of the Ministry of Tourism And Antiquities.
7. Mr. Mousa Hadeed, Mayor of Ramallah.
8. Mr. Anton Salman, Mayor of Bethlehem.
9. Mr. Jihad Kheir, Mayor of Beit Sahour.
10. Mr. Nicola Khamis, Mayor of Beit Jala.
11. Mr. Nabil Mushahwar, President of the Central Orthodox Council.
12. Dr. Issa Tarzi, Representative of the Association of Churches in Gaza.
The Higher Committee has decided in its session on the 30th of March 2015 to form a sub-committee for studies & researches to help in presenting advisory assessments to consolidate the role of the Higher Committee and its activities. The sub-Committee’s members are: Rev. Dr. Mitry Raheb , Father Firas Areedah, Dr. Varsain Aghabikian, Mr. Sami Elyousef, and Mr. Yousef Daher.