Palestinian Authority leaders warned Tuesday they will organize mass protests and hold a “Day of Rage” next Monday in protest of the planned relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem’s Arnona neighborhood.
According to a report by the PA-mouthpiece WAFA, Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Ahmad Majdalani listed a number of steps the PA is planning in protest of the Trump administration’s decision to move the US embassy to Israel’s capital city.
Among the measures under consideration are pursuing bids to have the PA recognized as a sovereign state by more international agencies, “enhancing popular resistance” – often a euphemism for attacks on Israeli civilians and security personnel, and appealing to the International Criminal Court at The Hague to prosecute Israeli leaders and security personnel.
Majdalani also said the PA was considering establishing an independent Arab municipality for the City of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, with a population of nearly 900,000, is more than 35% Arab. The city has been united under Israeli sovereignty and has had a single municipality since the eastern portion of the city was liberated in June 1967.
Prior to the Second Intifada, the PA maintained the Orient House as a de facto center of operations in Israel’s capital. Israel closed the Orient House in 2001.
In recent years, however, the PA has weighed plans to increase its influence in the city, including the establishment of a separate municipal body aimed at weakening Israeli sovereignty over parts of the city.
The separate Arab municipality would provide services to the city’s predominantly Arab neighborhoods, supplanting the existing Jerusalem municipality.
While the proposal was widely dismissed, given Israel’s likely response to any infringement upon its sovereignty by the PA, some large Arab neighborhoods - often made up primarily of illegally built structures – remain outside of Israel’s security fence, and are largely beyond the reach of Jerusalem officials.
In areas like Kafr Aqab, where a large portion of the residents entered Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries illegally, Israeli law is rarely applied.
Last year, city officials planned a major demolition operation to remove six illegally-built Arab high-rise buildings in Kafr Aqab to clear the way for a new road linking the neighborhood to the rest of the city.
The plan was later frozen, however, by a Supreme Court order.