Excitement in Bethlehem
Photo: Reuters
Preparations in Jerusalem's Old City
Photo: AFP

PA says in charge of pope's east J'lem visit

Palestinians once again put to the test question of sovereignty over east Jerusalem. Capital's police officers shut down media center set up for Benedict XVI's visit. Senior PA official tells Ynet, 'When the pope comes to east Jerusalem, we are responsible for him and his visit'

Several hours before the pope's visit, the question of east Jerusalem's status has been put to the test once again: The Jerusalem Police on Monday morning sealed off a conference hall at the Ambassador Hotel in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood following the Palestinian Authority's plan to hold a briefing for foreign and Palestinian journalists ahead of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Israel.


A senior PA official told Ynet in response that "when the pope arrives in east Jerusalem, he and his visit are our responsibility."


The auditorium was closed due to an order signed by Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, following intelligence information received by the police. Officers from the Jerusalem central unit's minority division arrived at the place with additional forces and presented the order, issued in accordance with the "implementation law", which states that any PA activity in all parts of Jerusalem is forbidden.


The officers confiscated documents signed by the PA, and the police activity ended without any unusual incidents.

Vatican flag in east Jerusalem (Photo: Reuters)


PA officials were unmoved by the police's decision to shut down the media center. The Palestinian prime minister's advisor for Jerusalem affair, Khatem Abdel Kader, told Ynet that this testified to the shallowness of the international security minister's activities.


"If the minister and the Israelis think that by closing the media center they can thwart our preparations to greet the pope and cover his visit – they are mistaken," he said.


"All of Jerusalem is open to us, and we immediately began moving the media center to the Old City. When the pope arrives in east Jerusalem, he and his visit are our responsibility, as is its coverage," Abdel Kader said. "We shall not be deterred by the Israelis' moves, which contribute noting to the visit and the situation.


"As far as the Palestinians are concerned, east Jerusalem is our responsibility and we are supposed to be in charge of all matters there, including the pope's visit," he noted, adding that the PA had expected the police to act and had prepared in advance.


Ali Waked contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 05.11.09, 10:07
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