Jerusalem – A senior Palestinian official said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown can keep the 60-million euros he promised to the Palestinian Authority when he appeared in Bethlehem Sunday.
Yesterday, Sari Nusseibeh, the Palestinian Authority’s representative in Jerusalem, held a packed press conference for the international media, where he said further foreign aid should be curtailed until Israel’s presence in the disputed territories end.
Mr. Nusseibeh said life becomes “too complacent for the Palestinians” when they accept foreign aid. The removal of foreign aid would place the burden of supporting the Palestinian entity entirely on Israel’s shoulders in his opinion.
He acknowledged that one of the reasons for his support of the cessation of further foreign aid to the Palestinians involved the allegations of wanton corruption, leveled against Yassir Arafat and his successor Mahmoud Abbas.
While advocating an independent Palestinian state, Mr. Nusseibeh also worried about violence in Palestinian society. In answer to a question, he admitted that much of the incitement occurs during the evening telecasts of the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation, which operates under Mr. Abbas’ supervision.
When asked about the dangers of posed by a sovereign, armed Palestinian state, Mr. Nusseibeh said he favored a demilitarized Palestinian state. He did not elaborate how the estimated 60,000 Palestinians now armed by the Palestinian Authority would be disarmed.
Mr. Nusseibeh said a “single-state” idea could fall on the table if the plans of Messrs. Bush, Olmert and Abbas to create a Palestinian state by the end of the year fail. Under that suggested idea, Palestinian Arabs would opt en masse for Israeli citizenship.
He also suggested that a line could be drawn along the lines that divided Jerusalem prior to 1967, and all Arab neighborhoods should come under Palestinian rule.
Mr. Nusseibeh, however, did not discuss the intertwinement of Arab and Jewish neighborhoods, which could make it nearly impossible to rule Jerusalem with competing sovereignties on the same street.
Instead, the Palestinian representative suggested having both sides convene a joint Jerusalem city council, and the area of Jerusalem holiest both to Jews and Muslims, known as the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa mosque area, would come under some kind of “rule of God.” Mr. Nusseibeh also suggested lifting current religious restrictions barring Jews from the praying on the Temple Mount.
Mr. Nusseibeh’s comments ignored recent history. In 1949, following Israel’s War of Independence, Israeli and Arab negotiators agreed to an armistice and drew a line though Jerusalem, which provided U.N. guarantees for both sides to have access to the other side of the line.
With tens of Jewish neighborhoods, synagogues and cemeteries then in sovereign Arab hands, an access clause became vital to Israeli negotiators. However, soon after the armistice took effect, the Jordanians who controlled the Arab section of Jerusalem took measures to systematically destroy all vestiges of Jewish life in their zone of control.
During Jordanian rule of East Jerusalem, between 1949 and 1967, 57 synagogues were burned. The ancient Jewish cemetery of the Mount of Olives was transformed into a military base. Rows of sacred gravestones were used as latrines, and marble taken from these grave stones was used for the foundation of the Intercontinental Hotel on the Mount of Olives. The late Jordanian Defense Minister Anwar Nusseibeh, Dr. Nusseibeh’s father, oversaw this destruction of all traces of Jewish presence in areas under Arab rule in Jerusalem.
David Bedein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His Web site is www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com
©The Bulletin 2008