PA Looks for J'lem Investors

Palestinian Authority tries to strengthen its claims on Jerusalem with a new company aimed at promoting projects in the capital and its suburbs.

Elad Benari, | updated: 18:49

East Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
Israel news photo

The PA-based daily newspaper Al-Ayam reported that the Palestinian Authority is calling on investors to invest in Jerusalem, which is under full Israeli control. According to the report, a company was formed for the specific purpose of promoting investments in Jerusalem and its suburbs.

During an introductory meeting with the company held recently, the PA’s minister of national economy, Hassan Abu-Libdeh, called on entrepreneurs to invest in projects in eastern, southern and northern Jerusalem and went so far as to offer incentives from the PA should they choose to do so.

This is part of intensive efforts by the PA to demonstrate sovereignty over Jerusalem. PA-based news agency Wafa reported last week that during his speech at the Arab summit in Libya two weeks ago, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas called on Arab leaders to encourage the international community not to recognize unilateral steps taken by Israel in Jerusalem and send international observers to monitor the situation.

During his political speech, Abbas outlined what he alleged are “the dangers posed to Jerusalem and places holy to Muslims and Christians following the Judaization and ethnic cleansing operations carried out by Israel: demolishing houses and taking them, seizure of land, construction of new buildings, damaging the Al-Aqsa mosque and trying to isolate Jerusalem from Judea and Samaria – acts which are designed to establish facts before negotiations and destroy the peace process.”

Abbas also suggested that a special meeting of the United Nations General Assembly be held for the following purposes: to condemn Israeli activities in Jerusalem and require Israel to act according to pro-Arab interpretations of international law; to recruit Arab, Islamic, and international support to stop Israeli activity in Jerusalem; formulate a plan for Arab support of Jerusalem; and increase financial aid to Jerusalem and to the PA.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the PA plans to extend a boycott of goods created in Israeli regions of Judea and Samaria to include goods made in the Jewish neighborhoods of northern, southern, and eastern Jerusalem. The boycott will include areas that have been annexed to Israel and are under full Israeli sovereignty.

The PA announced several months ago that it would prohibit the sale of Israeli goods from Judea and Samaria in PA-controlled cities. PA officials have since destroyed many tons of produce and other products grown or manufactured by Jews in Judea and Samaria, or by Arabs working in Israeli areas. Israeli leaders have denounced the boycott as violating previous Israel-PA agreements.

The U.N. warned both Israel and the PA  last week that “if the door to peace closes it will be very hard to open.” While this warning was interpreted by some media as being directed only at Israel, Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, who made the comments, added “there is no alternative to a negotiated settlement resulting in the creation of an independent and viable” PA state.