Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad on Tuesday morning arrived for the inauguration of a new wing at school in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Dahiyat al-Barid, despite an Israeli ban on Palestinian evens in Jerusalem's municipal area. However, Fayyad called off his plan to inaugurate a road in Shuafat and visit a school in Sheikh Jarrah.
Dahiyat al-Barid is located north of the Jewish neighborhood of Neve Yaakov, on the Palestinian side of the separation fence, but at least part of it is considered part of Jerusalem's municipal area. However, the territory is controversial and the Public Security Ministry insists it is not part of Jerusalem. Palestinian officials say it belongs to Area C, which is fully controlled by Israel.
Fayyad at east Jerusalem school (Photo: Iam Rimawi)
During the visit, Fayyad slammed the Israeli prime minister. "Netanyahu defined these suburbs as suburbs of Jerusalem, the united capital. And we say, yes, these are suburbs, but suburbs of our occupied capital which will always be the capital of our independent state."
He clarified that there will be no peace and stability until the Palestinians could reach those areas.
'We'll defeat occupation's aggression'
The Palestinian prime minister added that the PA would continue investing in Jerusalem's suburbs. "The desire for life and the Palestinian people's victory will eventually defeat the aggression of the occupation and the settlers' conduct. We are determined to continue our project in this area as well.
"No one can veto the Palestinian people's desire to live, and our visit means that the desire to live has defeated the occupation."
Fayyad planted an olive tree at the entrance to the school and visited the new wing's library and computer room funded by his government. A number of Western diplomats attended the ceremony.
On Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructed the security establishment on to prevent the Palestinian Authority from conducting ceremonies and organizing events anywhere within the limits of the Jerusalem Municipality.
The instruction followed an order signed by Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, stating that Israeli law prohibits PA officials from taking part in political activities within Israeli territory without first obtaining special permission.
"The rule of law will not be challenged," a source in Ahanovitch's office told Ynet.
The internal security minister's media advisor told Ynet on Tuesday morning that the Palestinian prime minister did not violate Ahanovitch's order. "The orders were not issued in regards to Salam Fayyad, who is outside the territory, but in regards to Sheikh Jarrah in the Christian Quarter and Shuafat, where the visits were canceled."
About a year-and-a-half ago police succeeded in dispersing a number of small events held in east Jerusalem as part of the Palestinian Culture Festival, meant to declare the city "the capital of Arabic culture for 2009." More than 20 people were arrested, including Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel.
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Yair Altman and Ronen Medzini contributed to this report