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Bethlehem governor bars contact with Israel
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
28/01/2013
Abdel Fattah Hamayel issues an order banning Palestinian institutions in his district from having any direct links with Israel.
 
Bethlehem’s PA governor, Abdel Fattah Hamayel, on Sunday issued an order banning Palestinian institutions in his district from having any direct contact with Israel.

The order applies to all municipal and village councils in the Bethlehem area, as well as Palestinian NGOs and trade institutions.

The governor justified the ban by arguing that Israeli authorities have been avoiding dealing with Palestinians through the Palestinian District Coordinating Office [DCO].

“In wake of repeated Israeli calls to deal directly with Palestinian municipalities and institutions and hold meetings and conferences with the Israeli side, it is forbidden to have direct contact or coordination with Israel,” Hamayel stated in his order.

He said that Palestinians who wish to have any form of contact with Israel should do so only through official Palestinian Authority channels, including the DCO.

This is not the first time that the PA prevents Palestinians from holding meetings or dealing directly with Israelis.

In recent years, Palestinians who participated in conferences and other activities with Israelis have been denounced by PA-affiliated organizations and Fatah for “promoting normalization” with Israel.
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