The Orient House, which serves as the PLO headquarters in Jerusalem, provides the visitor to Jerusalem with an understanding of how the PLO conceptualizes a Palestinian state.
The Orient House, with a complement of diplomatic vehicles that are usually parked outside the building, is located just off of Nablus Road, a block away from the American Colony Hotel, three blocks from the US consulate in East Jerusalem, and only a twenty minute walk from Jaffa Road in downtown West Jerusalem.
The “visiting dignitaries” department of the Orient House provides the visitor with a complimentary poster entitled. “The Dehieshe Refugee Camp” that pictures a little girl in a hut in the UNRWA Deheishe refugee camp, located just south of Bethlehem. Under the the picture of the little girl is an appeal,“Let her return home:UN RESOLUTION #194”, with a list of Arab villages that are now inside or nearby Jerusalem that were abandoned in 1948 on the left side of the poster, and a statement, “The Refugees who live in Deheishe come from these villages”. Rounding off the poster is a quote from Pope Paul II from his March 2000 visit to Dehieshe, when he declared that “No one should forget the tragedies that hgave marked your history and your sufferings”.
The Orient House pr office also provides the visitor with an very informative multicolored 37 page brochure published in April, 2000 by the PLO on the subject of the 3.5 million Palestinian refugees, which presents the PLO position on the refugees, which is hat all refugees must have the right to return to their homes and villages from 1948.
The manager of the Orient House press office, Nabel Aweidah, together with Khalil Tafakji, a department director of the Arab Studies Society headed by Faisal Husseini, provide a map reprinted only three weeks ago of the Palestinian state for a fee of fifteen shekels.
That map, incidentally, which was originally published in 1988, includes all of Palestine, makes no mention Israel, and features every Arab village that was abandoned in 1948.
A new addition to the Orient House that Tafakji is pleased to show his guests is the special computer map room of Orient House where computer operators run five state of the art computers that locate Arab owned homes from before 1948, and connect them to the deed-owners of these homes who have been living in UNRWA refugee camps since 1950. The Orient House’s chief computer operator has been focusing lately on Arab-owned homes from Talbia, Katamon, Bakka. Tafakji says that he will soon turn his attention to locating Arab-owned homes throughout Israel and connecting them to UNRWA refugee camp residents.
All in all, a visit to the Orient House provided the visitor with insight into the official Palestinian perspective of the peace process at this time.