Israel violates Road Map by extending Orient House closure

The government of Israel violated the Road Map by renewing the closure of Orient House, the primary Palestinian institution in Occupied East Jerusalem.

The renewal of the closure order, delivered by Israeli Public Security Minister Hanegbi, was issued officially on August 5, 2003 and extends Orient House’s closure for another six months.

The order also applied to four other Palestinian institutions in Occupied East Jerusalem: the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce, the Arab Higher Council for Tourism, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club and the Palestinian Center for Social Research.

The closure renewal directly violates Israel’s Phase I Road Map obligation to “reopen the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce and other closed Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem…”

Dr. Saeb Erekat, Head of the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department, protested the Israeli violation of the Road Map in a letter to John S. Wolf, Chief of the US Road Map Coordination and Monitoring Mission, urging “direct intervention in order to revoke this order and ensure that all closed institutions in East Jerusalem be re-opened.”

“Israel’s on-going violations of the Road Map continue to undermine the Palestinian Authority and its Prime Minister,” said Dr. Erekat.

Orient House, which functions as an umbrella institution for most of the civil institutions in Occupied East Jerusalem, was closed in August 2001. The Israeli military subsequently confiscated Orient House records, including maps and Palestinian land titles to property in West Jerusalem.

The continuing closure of Orient House is part of an Israeli government strategy to sever Occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Other aspects of this strategy include measures aimed at preventing a negotiated settlement of Jerusalem such as home demolitions, revocations of Palestinian residency rights and the construction of a wall around East Jerusalem.

Related Links:

  • See PLO Negotiations Affairs Department
  • See “Israeli Seizures in Occupied East Jerusalem: A Legal Analysis” [PDF format], PLO Negotiations Affairs Department, 16 August 2001.