Israeli security forces stand guard during a protest in east Jerusalem.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Police preemptively barred a planned PLO gathering at the Issaf Nashashibi Cultural Center in east Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on Thursday, scheduled to launch a PLO anti-Israel publication.
A statement issued by the PLO’s Negotiations Affairs Department said that diplomats from more than 20 countries were planning on attending the event, introducing a publication titled “Altering the Character of Jerusalem: The Forced Closure of Palestinian Institutions in Palestine’s Capital.”
Adnan Ghaleb Husseini, the PA’s governor of Jerusalem, condemned the cancellation as a manifestation of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s “extremist statements and policies trying to alter the character of occupied Jerusalem, turning it into an exclusive Jewish city.”
“It is our right to work in east Jerusalem and we will continue to do so,” he said. “What has been done today by the occupation forces is part of the government of Israel’s efforts to negate Palestinian rights and destroy the prospects of peace with a culture of hatred and incitement.”
However, Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld noted that all PLO events in Jerusalem have long been outlawed by the government.
“Police closed the area to prevent it from taking place in coordination with the minister of public security,” he said.
“Any actions by the PA inside Jerusalem is considered illegal, and past similar gatherings have been canceled or shut down by police.”
According to Husseini, the government has closed more than 20 east Jerusalem Palestinian organizations, including the Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce and Orient House, which served as headquarters for the Palestinian negotiations team to the Madrid Peace conference.
Citing the road map endorsed by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1515, Husseini said Israel must reopen the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and other closed Palestinian institutions in east Jerusalem.
The governor quoted a 1993 letter from then-foreign minister Shimon Peres following the signature of the Oslo Accords, stating the government’s resolve to preserve east Jerusalem institutions.
“I wish to confirm that the Palestinian institutions of east Jerusalem and the interests and well-being of Palestinians of east Jerusalem are of great importance and will be preserved,” the letter stated.
“Therefore, all Palestinian institutions of east Jerusalem, including the economic, social, educational, cultural, and the holy Christian and Muslim places, are performing an essential task for the Palestinian population.”