‘Palestinian government’ in Israel within weeks
Officially opening institutions in Jewish state’s capital city

Posted: February 17, 2008
9:31 pm Eastern

By Aaron Klein
© 2008 WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – The Palestinian Authority, aided by international donors, will attempt to open official institutions in Jerusalem within weeks, WND has learned.

While Israel has not officially approved the PA’s presence in Jerusalem, Palestinian diplomatic sources said there is an unwritten agreement in which Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s office has agreed not to interrupt some PA activities in Jerusalem.

Hatem Abdel Khader, a member of Palestinian Authority President Mahmad Abbas’ Fatah party and a former member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, held a meeting today with Fatah activists in Jerusalem in which he declared the PA would start officially acting in Jerusalem.

Official PA minutes of the meeting, obtained by WND, announced the launching of “practical PA activities in Jerusalem such as those that took place before the closing of Orient House in Jerusalem by Israeli Occupation Authorities.”

In line with previous Israeli-Palestinian accords, the PA has been barred from conducting political activity in Jerusalem, although it maintained an office, called Orient House, in an eastern Jerusalem neighborhood that previously functioned as a de facto PA headquarters.

Orient House was closed down by Israel in 2001 following a series of suicide bombings in Jerusalem and information Israel said indicated the House was used to plan and fund terrorism.

Thousands of documents and copies of bank certificates and checks captured by Israel from Orient House – including many documents obtained by WND – showed the offices were used to finance terrorism, including direct payments to the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group.

A press release from Khader yesterday said the PA would start acting in Jerusalem on both the social and political levels “to strengthen Palestinian preservation of Jerusalem.”

Khader’s release stated the World Bank and other international donors provided $150,000 in initial seed money to launch PA activities in Jerusalem and that more aid was expected.

Palestinian diplomatic sources claimed they received tacit agreement from Israeli officials to allow some PA political activities in Jerusalem’s Old City and eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods.

David Baker, a spokesman for Olmert, did not returns a request for comment before press time.

The Palestinian sources noted Israel last week arrested Khader, as reported by WND, accusing him of setting up a Palestinian council in Jerusalem to attend to the needs of the city’s Israeli Arab population. But Khader was released after a few hours and no charges were brought against him.

Palestinian officials speaking to WND said they recently urged the U.S. to support what they said is a key demand allowing the PA to open official institutions and to reopen Orient House to serve as their Jerusalem headquarters. The U.S. brought the request to Olmert in November, but according to sources in Jerusalem, Israeli officials replied for domestic political reasons Olmert is waiting to discuss Jerusalem during biweekly negotiations held with Abbas.

Olmert is facing major opposition from the Israeli Shas party, a member of his governing coalition whose leadership has stated it would bolt Olmert’s government if he negotiated over Jerusalem.

Olmert, though, previously hinted he would be willing to divide Jerusalem, asking during a December speech whether it was “really necessary” to retain certain Arab neighborhoods in Judaism’s capital. His vice premier, Haim Ramon, a member of Olmert’s ruling Kadima party, last month reportedly mapped out a future partition of Jerusalem under a deal with the Palestinians.

But following Shas threats to bolt his coalition, Olmert has denied he is negotiating over Jerusalem, a claim strongly contested by Palestinian negotiators speaking to WND.

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