Palestinian Authority May be Resuming Activity in Jerusalem

As the PA prepares to take control of Gush Katif and northern Samaria PA officials have turned to the biggest prize of all: Jerusalem. PA officials have been sighted holding meetings in the capital.

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Scott Shiloh, | updated: 14:03

As the Palestinian Authority prepares to assume control of Gush Katif and the area of northern Samaria around Jenin, the authority set up under the Oslo accords to govern the Arabs living in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza, appears to be resuming political activity in Jerusalem.

According to the weekly newspaper “Jerusalem”, senior PA officials have recently been seen holding meetings at various hotels in the city. Among the PA officials spotted were Saeb Erikat, who heads the PA’s negotiating team with Israel, security advisor, Gibril Rajub, and Rasan al Hatib, responsible for labor affairs.

A representative of the National Religious Party on the city council, David Harari, said he was unaware of the renewed PA activity in the capital. He said, however, that if the reports were true, it would be “very serious.”

“I will work as hard as I can in order to put an end to this activity and make sure the PA doesn’t maintain even the slightest presence in Jerusalem,” said Harari.

Harari said he recently checked out a tip that the PA had renewed its activities at the Orient House, a building in the eastern part of the city, formerly used by the PA to carry out political and governmental activities in Jerusalem. After checking the tip with the police, the information proved to be only a rumor, Harari said.

Under the Oslo accords, it is illegal for the Palestinian Authority to carry out any official activity within Jerusalem. When the PA refused to shut down its operations in the Orient House, the Israeli government ordered the building closed, and seized all material relating to PA activities, in August 2001.

Arab residents of Jerusalem, however, are allowed to participate in PA elections, according to the Oslo agreements.

PA leaders have repeatedly declared that their objective is to establish a Palestinian State with Jerusalem as its capital.

Councilman Harari has asked the public to report any sightings of PA or PLO activity in the capital. Harari can be reached by phone, 02-629-7578, or by e-mail, DDAVID@Jerusalem.muni.il.