Fayyad: 'J'lem suburbs are part of Palestinian capital'

Palestinian PM attends east J'lem ceremony; Public Security Ministry clarifies visit did not violate any prohibitive order.

fayyad 311 (photo credit: AP)
fayyad 311
(photo credit: AP)
Following reports that Salam Fayyad would not attend school dedication ceremonies in east Jerusalem due to an Israeli ban on PA officials participating in political activities within Israeli territory, the Palestinian Authority prime minister attended one of the ceremonies in the Dahiyat al-Barid neighborhood on Tuesday. The town is located within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem but on the Palestinian side of the security barrier.
The Public Security Ministry issued a clarification saying that the order issued on Monday only applied to Sheikh Jarah, the Christian Quarter and Shufa'at. According to the ministry statement, Fayyad did not violate the order.
Speaking at the ceremony in Dahiyat al-Barid, Fayyad said that the suburbs of Jerusalem were in fact, parts of the "eternal capital," Israel Radio reported.
The Palestinian Authority official in charge of the Jerusalem portfolio commented that Fayyad had to go to the ceremony and not to give in to Israeli threats, adding that Israel would not have dared to arrest him, Army Radio reported.
Previous reports had said that Fayyad canceled his participation in the dedication ceremonies due to the ban.
On Monday, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch signed the orderstating that Israeli law prohibits Palestinian Authority officials from taking part in political activities within Israeli territory without first obtaining special permission.
Earlier on Monday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told security officials not to allow the PA to conduct ceremonies within Jerusalem’s municipal borders.
The measure underscores the sharp divide that exists between the PA and Israel on the issue of Jerusalem, and is likely to raise tensions between the two governments on the eve of Netanyahu’s trip to the United States next week.
The revelation of the PA’s renovations drew condemnations from city politicians, who accused the Palestinian body of flaunting its authority within municipal Jerusalem in violation of the Oslo Accords.
On Monday, the leftist NGO Ir Amim said that the owner of the Yabous hall in the northeastern Dahiyat a- Salam neighborhood, where one of the rededication ceremonies was supposed to take place, received a notice from the Public Security Ministry, warning that if the event went ahead, the hall would be shut down for a year.
The announcement of the PA’s renovations came as a surprise to the municipality.
The 15 private schools do not receive funds from the municipality or the Education Ministry.
Melanie Lidman, Tovah Lazaroff and Khaled Abu Toameh also contributed to this report.