Erdan: Palestinian minister in Jerusalem? Not on my watch

Public Security Minister bars PA minister from taken part in event at Christian school in Jerusalem.

David Rosenberg ,

Old City of Jerusalem
Old City of Jerusalem
Dario Sanchez/FLASH90

A planned visit by a senior Palestinian Authority official to a Jerusalem school was cancelled Monday, after Israel’s Public Security Minister prohibited the visit.

Sabri Saidam, the PA’s chief of education affairs, had planned to visit Terra Sancta, a private Catholic school in Jerusalem.

The visit was to have included a speech by Saidam, and a press briefing at the school.

The Palestinian Authority, which is limited to civil administration of Areas A and B in Judea and Samaria, and the policing of Area A, has no recognized status in the Israeli capital city, which has been unified under Israeli sovereignty since 1967.

Nevertheless, the PA has claimed the city as its capital, and until 2001 used the Orient House in eastern Jerusalem as a de facto government office, giving the PA a foothold in the city.

While Israel has blocked PA operations in the city, it has permitted local Arab schools to follow the PA curriculum and use PA textbooks. In this vein, Israel has permitted a PA liaison to coordinate between the PA’s education department, and Arab schools in eastern Jerusalem which use the PA curriculum.

Saidam was to have been accompanied during the visit by Samir Jebril, chief of the PA’s Ministry of Endowments for the Jerusalem district, along with other senior PA officials.

After Israeli security forces were informed of the planned event, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) signed an order prohibiting Saidam’s visit.

Erdan said the planned visit was an attempt to infringe on Israeli sovereignty.

“The struggle for our sovereignty over Jerusalem isn’t over,” said Erdan.

“The Palestinian Authority, together with other groups, is working every day to undermine [Israeli sovereignty], but I will do my utmost to prevent that from happening.”