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Netanyahu bans Fayyad from Jerusalem

Nov. 2, 2010 1:37 A.M. (Updated: Nov. 2, 2010 3:02 P.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday ordered security forces to prevent his Palestinian Authority counterpart from attending scheduled events in Jerusalem, Israeli press reported.

Netanyahu issued the order a day before PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was due in the city to celebrate the PA-sponsored rebuilding of two schools in occupied East Jerusalem. The instructions came after Israel's Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch signed a warrant banning all PA events inside Israel, the Israeli news site Ynet reported.

The Israeli daily Haaretz said Jerusalem Police delivered the warrant to Dahyat al-Salam reception hall in East Jerusalem, where the ceremony to celebrate the renovated schools was due to be held.

Israel illegally annexed East Jerusalem following the 1967 war, a move not recognized by the international community. The UN considers East Jerusalem as under occupation. Palestinians seek East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, and the city's fate is a final status issue in negotiations.

Israeli groups were reportedly angry that the PA was funding projects in East Jerusalem. The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, which describes itself as "preserving the national integrity of the State of Israel and the Jewish people," asked Ahronovitch to ban the ceremony, Haaretz reported.

The head of the Forum Noci Eyal told the newspaper his organization was happy "that our appeal regarding this issue was accepted by the minister."

The PA "mustn't be allowed to intervene in the renovation of roads and public structures – it is against the law and an injury to Israel's sovereignty," he was quoted as saying.

In August, two Israeli rights groups accused the Israeli government of neglecting the education of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem. The Association of Civil Rights in Israel and Jerusalem-based NGO Ir Amim said the education system in East Jerusalem remained short of 1,000 classrooms for Palestinian students, and that only 39 classrooms were built for Palestinians over the past year despite promises made in court to build 644 by 2011.

The groups found that 5,300 children did not study at all, and the Israeli government did not take an interest in them or try to return them to the education system.

At the time, Ir Amin executive director Yehudith Oppenheimer said the dire state of the education system in East Jerusalem demonstrated that the concept of 'a unified Jerusalem' was not valid.

"The authorities claim that Jerusalem is unified, but at the same time they continue to ignore their legal commitments to the children of East Jerusalem."

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