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Palestinian Authority: Palestinians Violating Peace Terms on Jerusalem

Under the terms of the Oslo Accords, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is prohibited from operating in Jerusalem. The Interim Agreement (“Oslo 2”), which was signed on September 28, 1995, sets limits on the PA’s jurisdiction, stating that it does not include “issues that will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations: Jerusalem, settlements, specified military locations, Palestinian refugees, borders, foreign relations and Israelis” (Article XVII (1a)). Thus, the PA is barred from exercising any authority or conducting any activity in Jerusalem.)

The PA continues to intensify its activities in Jerusalem in violation of the Oslo Accords. Following is a list of the 20 PA institutions operating illegally in the city: Palestinian “Ministries”

1) Ministry for Jerusalem Affairs—located in the Orient House and run by PA Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Faisal Husseini, it functions as a base for Palestinian activities in the city, including organizing protests and press conferences, raising funds and purchasing Jerusalem real estate on behalf of the PA.

2) Ministry for Religious Affairs—located on Shalshelet Street, at the entrance to the Temple Mount in the Old City, it oversees Muslim religious matters. PA Minister for Religious Affairs Hassan Tahboub recently passed away and Yasser Arafat is expected to nominate a replacement shortly. Ministry official Ibrahim Kandelaft acts as PA representative to the Christian communities. He regularly participates in church conferences and ceremonies in Jerusalem.

3) Ministry of Education—the Ministry has taken control of the private educational system in eastern Jerusalem which serves nearly half of the city's Arab students. Schools run by the Muslim Wakf, Christian churches and UNRWA operate with special permits issued by the Ministry, and they utilize curriculums, books and tests prepared by it. The Palestinian Legislative Council recently approved the "First Palestinian Curriculum", which will likely be introduced into schools run by the PA Education Ministry.

4) Ministry of Health—the Ministry has intensified its activities in Jerusalem, seeking to extend its control over health institutions in the Arab sector (see #17 below). The Ministry issues licenses to doctors operating in Jerusalem, and the PA Health Minister recently declared that health institutions in Jerusalem were an integral part of the Palestinian health system and incorporated them into the PA's five-year development plan.

5) Ministry of Finance—the Ministry has pressured Palestinian merchants in eastern Jerusalem to register their businesses as Palestinian firms under PA supervision and to report regularly on their commercial activities for tax purposes. Merchants refusing to do so have been threatened with having their products boycotted in PA areas.

6) Ministry of Transportation—the Ministry issues licenses to Palestinian taxis and transportation services operating in Jerusalem, and the Ministry's Director-General is involved in establishing public transportation lines between Sur Baher and central Jerusalem as well as Bethlehem.

7) Ministry of Housing / Palestinian Housing Council—the Housing Council, part of the PA Housing Ministry, oversees planning for building projects in the PA areas and Jerusalem, and engages in fundraising on their behalf. The Council provides loans and aid to Palestinians in eastern Jerusalem. Members of its board of directors include the PA's Minister of Justice and Minister of Housing. The Housing Council's leadership has held working meetings with PA Chairman Arafat.

8) Ministry of Trade and Industry/ Palestinian Small Business Project—located in the Wadi Joz neighborhood, the Small Business Project is an arm of the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Its stated purpose is to assist and encourage Palestinian small businesses. The PA uses it as a cover for disbursing funds to various Palestinian projects in Jerusalem. Headed by Butina Shahana.

9) Ministry of Youth and Sports—operating out of an office in A-Ram, the Ministry runs various youth clubs and sports activities in Arab- populated sections of Jerusalem. Under the ministry's guidance, Jerusalem sporting groups serve as active members of PA-supervised sports associations.

10) Ministry of Tourism / Higher Council for Arab Tourism—the Higher Council is an arm of the Ministry of Tourism and it works in conjunction with the Orient House, the Jerusalem District Governor and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council to promote Palestinian tourism projects in Jerusalem. Headed by Hani Abu Dayah.

11) Ministry of Information / WAFA— WAFA, the official Palestinian news agency, is subordinate to the Palestinian Ministry of Information. It opened a branch on Ibn Abu Taleb Street in the Friteh building in eastern Jerusalem.

Other PA Institutions

12) Office of the Mufti of Jerusalem and the Holy Land—located on the Temple Mount, it is the main office of PA Mufti Ikrama Sabri. Sabri issues religious edicts, including a prohibition on the sale of land to Jews and on applying for an Israeli passport. He gives sermons at al-Aqsa Mosque in which he regularly denies Israel's right to exist, glorifies suicide bombing attacks and denies any Jewish connection to the Western Wall. Sabri also travels to areas within pre-1967 Israel for working meetings with Israeli Arabs.

13) Palestinian Security Forces—Palestinian security agents conduct a range of activities in Jerusalem which include detentions, intelligence- gathering, criminal investigations and enforcing orders and instructions issued by PA Chairman Arafat. In an effort to silence opponents of the PA, agents belonging to Jibril Rajoub's Preventive Security Service have threatened and intimidated Palestinian journalists and editors as well as critics of PA Chairman Arafat. Rajoub's men intervene in business and other disputes, and have sought to prevent Palestinians from filing complaints with the Israel Police. They have also punished perpetrators of "moral crimes". PA agents serve as bodyguards for various Palestinian personalities in Jerusalem, such as PA Mufti Ikrama Sabri, and provide security for Palestinian institutions in the city. Palestinian security agents are also active on the Temple Mount, where they occasionally provide security during prayers. During Ramadan prayers, their presence on the Mount increases. They frequently conduct patrols on major thoroughfares in the eastern part of the city, both on foot and by car.

14) Jerusalem District Governor—The PA appointed Jamil Othman Nasser to serve as Governor of the Jerusalem District. His office is located in Abu Dis, outside Jerusalem's municipal boundaries, but Nasser conducts activities within the city, providing its residents with a range of services and involving himself in various matters. For example, on October 23, 1996, he joined a Force 17 in an attempt to wrest control over the Muslim religious establishment on the Temple Mount from the Jordanians. He also involves himself in resolving disputes among Palestinians in Jerusalem.

15) Palestinian Legislative Council—many of the seven Jerusalem representatives on the Palestinian Legislative Council operate out of offices located in Jerusalem, among them Hatam Abdel Kader.

16) Arab Studies Society—operates out of the Orient House under the leadership of Faisal Husseini. Under the cover of a research institute, it serves the interests of the PA by carrying out surveys and obtaining information on its behalf.

17) Al-Mokassad Hospital—The PA recently seized control over the hospital after the personal intervention of Yasser Arafat. The PA fired the hospital's administration and appointed its own people to replace it. The hospital and much of its staff operate without the requisite licenses required by Israeli law.

18) Office of Mapping and Geography— operated in the Wadi Joz neighborhood until Israel demanded its closure in August 1996. The PA promised to relocate the office to Abu Dis, outside Jerusalem's municipal boundaries. Despite this commitment, the PA reopened the office in Orient House, where it continues to operate under the direction of Khalil Toufakji.

19) Palestinian Energy Center—located in Beit Hanina, it develops Palestinian energy strategy and programming. Established by a "presidential decree" of Yasser Arafat on December 20, 1993, its main office opened on September 26, 1994. On its internet site on the World Wide Web, the PEC states, "In July 1996, the center became part of the President's Office, and subject to the decisions made by the President himself."

20) Palestinian Prisoners’ Club—working under the authority of the Palestinian Ministry of Welfare, it provides loans, aid and professional training to former Palestinian security prisoners. Though Israel ordered it to close, it continues to operate in Jerusalem.

Sources: Israel Government Press Office