Israel Cancels Cultural Event in E. Jerusalem Saying Palestinian Authority Was Behind It

PA not permitted to operate in capital, but Palestinians say function had nothing to do with politics.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan
Emil Salman

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has ordered the cancelation of a cultural event in East Jerusalem on the grounds that the Palestinian Authority was behind it.

The event, whose theme was to be the revival of Palestinian Culture in the city, was scheduled to take place Sunday at El-Hakawati, the Palestinian National Theater. Palestinian sources in the city said it was strictly a cultural event, not a political one.

Nevertheless, Palestinian Culture Minister Ehab Bessaiso, a poet who teaches at Birzeit University, was to have attended the event.

Under Israel’s agreements with the Palestinians, the PA is not allowed to operate in Jerusalem. The Israel Police regularly shut down cultural events and press conferences, citing suspicions that the organizer has connections to the PA. The order prohibiting the event, signed by Erdan yesterday, states that neither the theater nor anyone else may hold the event “in Jerusalem, or anywhere else within the borders of the State of Israel.”

“I won’t allow any undermining of Israeli sovereignty or grant any foothold to the PA within the territory of the State of Israel,” Erdan said afterward.