Israel shuts French cultural center in Jerusalem over PA event

France protests police closure of building for holding event sponsored by the PA in violation of Israeli law.

AFP,

Jerusalem
Jerusalem
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israeli authorities shut down a French cultural center in Jerusalem on Thursday, alleging it was to host an event involving an association supported by the Palestinian Authority.

In a rare move, police entered the center in eastern Jerusalem and ordered it closed until further notice, a French diplomatic source said.

An order posted on the door of the building said that the center, which is connected to the French foreign ministry, intended to host an event organised with a women's association "sponsored or financed by the Palestinian Authority" and "without authorization."

Israel considers all Palestinian Authority activities in Jerusalem illegal.

The consulate could not confirm if the association was indeed financed by the PA, but Arabs who were to participate in the event said the allegation was false.

After police arrived, France's consul general went immediately and protested against the action at an institute "belonging to our diplomatic and cultural network," the diplomatic source said.

The consul called on police "to leave the location," and security forces left in the late morning, the source said, adding that the consulate took the incident "seriously."

Police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

One of the women who was to participate in the event said that the association's secretary general had been arrested.

"It was an event related to Mother's Day" and to sell crafts made by women from Jerusalem, she said, declining to give her name.

Similar events occur on a near-monthly basis, she said.




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