Salam Fayyad 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
Despite Israeli objections, the Palestinian Authority government will continue to provide various services to Arab residents of Jerusalem, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad vowed on Tuesday.
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Fayyad was responding to Israel’s decision to ban him from inaugurating a project in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Dahyet al-Salam.
Fayyad did not show up for the ceremony to avoid a confrontation with Israeli policemen who were waiting for him in the neighborhood to enforce the ban.
Agreements signed between Israel and the PLO forbid the Palestinians from carrying out activities inside the country, including east Jerusalem neighborhoods that are located within the municipal boundaries of the city.
Instead, Fayyad went to the suburb of Dahyet al-Barid, which is outside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, to inaugurate other projects to renovate schools.
From there he addressed by phone hundreds of supporters, including top Fatah officials, who gathered at the sight of the inauguration ceremony in Dahyet al-Salam.
“It’s the duty of the Palestinian government to end the suffering of the residents of Jerusalem and provide them with services,” Fayyad declared. “I salute you for your support and promise that I will continue to provide services to the residents of Jerusalem.”
Fayyad said that work to renovate a road near Dayhet al- Salam began only last September and that the project was completed in a record time.
“Investing in Jerusalem is part of our duty and we are not going to give that up,” he said. “The Palestinian state will be established within the 1967 borders and Jerusalem will be its capital.”
He said that about 10,000 Arab children had no place in the city’s schools, which have long been suffering from lack of educational services and infrastructure.
He revealed that in the past four months this government completed renovation work in 14 Arab schools in Jerusalem.
“The Palestinian leadership can’t leave our children without schools,” Fayyad said. “Israel does not want to be responsible – as an occupation force – for securing schools for our children.”
Fayyad claimed that Israel’s policy in the city was designed to “empty it from its original inhabitants by cutting services and through other measures.” He said that his government’s duty was to “protect the Arab character of Jerusalem and its status as the eternal capital of Palestine.”
He added that the PA government was determined to pursue its plan to
build state institutions and “reinforce the steadfastness of our people,
especially in Jerusalem and other areas threatened by the [security]
wall and settlements.”
“We are here to stay on this land,” a defiant Fayyad stressed in his
speech. “We will continue to support Jerusalem institutions,
particularly academic ones.”
He also called for reopening closed PLO institutions in Jerusalem, first
and foremost Orient House, which served for many years as the PLO
headquarters in the city before it was closed down by Israel in 2001.