Palestinians step up effort to lay claim to Jerusalem

The Palestinian Authority’s activity in Jerusalem contravenes the 1995 Oslo Peace Accords.


Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas, stepping up his effort to assert PA sovereignty in Jerusalem, last week signed a presidential decree transferring the Orient House’s responsibilities to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s Jerusalem section.

The Orient House building had served as the PA’s headquarters in Jerusalem. Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan in January signed an extension of an order that the Orient House remain closed. Abbas’ action is a response to this Israeli move.

The transfer of responsibilities from the Orient House to the PLO means that a significantly more powerful, resourceful and binding organization will now be running the PA’s affairs in Jerusalem. The PLO is the supreme Palestinian body, and its asserting of the PA’s responsibilities in Jerusalem constitutes a significant advancement of the Arabs’ activities in Jerusalem.

The decree, a copy of which has been obtained by TPS, is meant to upgrade and strengthen the PA and PLO’s activities in Jerusalem – another attempt by the Arabs to assert their presence in the city after the U.S. relocated its embassy to Jerusalem in May 2018.

This step was also made in anticipation of U.S. President Donald Trump’s pending peace plan and after Abbas launched the “campaign for sovereignty in Jerusalem” a few months ago.

The PA has been operating to strengthen its presence in east Jerusalem in sophisticated ways, including the transfer of significant funding in favor of activities on its behalf. Israel’s intelligence, and police forces are constantly working to track and stop these attempts.

Erdan has been leading a forceful preventive policy against the PA’s attempts to hold events in the sovereign territory of the State of Israel.

He recently issued closing orders for a commemorative event in eastern Jerusalem, financed by the PA, for a conference in the Kfar Shiloach (Silwan) neighborhood that promoted the Palestinian takeover of eastern Jerusalem, and shut down an event that was scheduled to take place under the auspices of the PA at the Makassed Hospital in eastern Jerusalem.

Israeli law prohibits the PA from opening or operating a representative office or conducting activities within the borders of the State of Israel and authorizes the minister of public security to act against such activity.

Similarly, the PA’s activity in Jerusalem contravenes the 1995 Oslo Peace Accords.