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East Jerusalem Palestinians Reject Ramallah’s Directives

The talk of the town in east Jerusalem is an event that has not been reported.

Mahmoud Abbas with his senior officials, in 2015

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – who also serves as head of the PLO – with his senior officials, in 2015

At the meeting of the PLO Central Committee on January 14, 2018, in Ramallah, followers of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas removed from the dais a very senior Fatah official from east Jerusalem after he began to criticize the PA for its behavior toward east Jerusalem. When he started to say that the PLO “proclaims its devotion to Jerusalem,” but ignores the city’s needs and has not given its activists a suitable place in the leadership, Abbas’ ushers mounted the stage and removed the senior PLO figure. Sources say that, while there was an altercation between top PLO officials, none of those present protested or opposed the action.

Although confirmation of this incident could not be obtained, more than one source reported the story, and it has had an impact on east Jerusalem’s relations with Ramallah.

In previous cases, when senior officials from the West Bank came to the protesters at Lion’s Gate during the metal-detector crisis, these same West Bank officials were driven away with shouts. When senior officials from Ramallah came to the Al-Aqsa compound without a security escort, the worshippers ejected them amid threats. The Muqata headquarters refused to give the Fatah Tanzim in Jerusalem special budgets for waging the struggle against the “Judaization of the city.”

East Jerusalem, for its part, did not join the large-scale strike that Ramallah declared in protest of Vice-President Pence’s visit.

Thus, whereas Ramallah is escalating the international campaign against the United States and Israel over the Jerusalem issue, east Jerusalem itself has turned a cold shoulder to the leadership in the Muqata.

About Pinhas Inbari

Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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