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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Hatem Abdel Qader, the former Palestinian Authority minister for Jerusalem Affairs, expressed disappointment on Tuesday with the way the PA and Arab countries were dealing with the issue of Jerusalem.
Abdel Qader, who is also a Fatah legislator, resigned a few weeks after assuming his post. He said he quit came after he discovered the PA was not serious about its promises to help Arab residents of Jerusalem.
"In many ways, you can say that we have lost the battle for Jerusalem," Abdel Qader said. "But this does not mean that we are going to stop our efforts to prevent Israel from wiping out the Arab and Islamic character of Jerusalem."
Abdel Qader said that his decision to resign from the PA cabinet did not mean that he would stop helping the city's Arab population.
In recent weeks he visited a number of Gulf countries in a bid to raise funds for a campaign he is planning to launch to against the demolition of illegal houses in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.
The money will go to hiring a team of lawyers who will take hundreds of demolition orders to court, Abdel Qader said, noting that Qatar was one of the countries that had agreed to support his efforts.
Abdel Qader, who is in charge of the "Jerusalem portfolio" in Fatah, is also planning to use the funds to help Arab residents pay for medical treatment and university tuition fees.
His disappointment with the PA's attitude toward Jerusalem is shared by many of his colleagues in Fatah.
They said that the PA was doing too little to help Arab residents face attempts by Jewish groups to purchase new houses in their neighborhoods.
"It's sad that one Jewish millionaire is investing in Jerusalem more than what all Arabs and Muslims do," remarked one Fatah representative in the city. "If we continue to neglect the city, the day will come when we will wake up in the morning to see that Jerusalem has become all Jewish."