Israel cracks down on PA activity in east Jerusalem

Minister Gilad Erdan vows to continue acting to prevent the PA’s financing of events in the eastern part of Israel’s capital.

By David Jablinowitz, World Israel News

Public Security and Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan has signed an extension to an order aimed at preventing Palestinian Authority (PA) activity in Jerusalem. The move, taken on Thursday, was based on a recommendation from the Shin Bet domestic security agency and Israel Police, said the ministry.

Under the terms of an agreement reached in 1994 as part of the Oslo process between Israel and the Palestinians, PA activity is barred from Jerusalem during what was supposed to be only an interim period of self-rule leading to a Palestinian state, because Jerusalem is not part of the authority’s territory.

However, the Palestinians tried to stretch the rules by conducting events in the eastern part of the city, which they ultimately believed would be the capital of their own state. They would also argue that events taking place were cultural and not PA governmental activity.

An Israeli closure order covers Orient House, which has served as PLO headquarters in east Jerusalem, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Club, East Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce, Supreme Council for the Arab Tourism Industry, Center for Palestinian Studies, and the Office for Social and Statistical Studies.

“I will continue to strengthen Israeli sovereignty and sovereignty throughout Jerusalem, and prevent any Palestinian attempt to establish a foothold in the eastern part of the city,” Erdan said. “The extension of the closure of the Palestinian institutions is a message to the Palestinian Authority and the residents of east Jerusalem,” he added.

Erdan charged that the PA has been stepping up its activity in east Jerusalem by transferring significant financing to support activities which take place there. Intelligence and police forces are constantly working to trace and stop these transfers, according to the minister.

He confirmed that an event that was scheduled to take place at a hospital was banned earlier this month because it was organized under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, explaining that the PA tries to play on the international community’s emotions by sponsoring events at locations which indicate a humanitarian dimension.

However, said Erdan, the event was to have included “symbols of Palestinian sovereignty such as the playing of the Palestinian Authority anthem, political speeches in the name of the Palestinian Authority, and participation of senior Palestinians.”