Israel clears Kuwait’s intel chief for Ramallah, Bethlehem – but not Temple Mount

Sheikh Ahmad al Fahd al Jabar al Sabah, head of Kuwait’s national intelligence service, arrived in Ramallah Monday, March 23, from Jordan through the Allenby Bridge terminus as guest of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas. He also scheduled appointments with senior Israeli intelligence officials.
But he cut short his visit and left in a huff when Israel denied him permission to pray at the al Aqsa Mosque on Temple Mount and tour the Church of the Sepulcher in Jerusalem because he insisted on being escorted to these Jerusalem shrines solely by PA officials and security guards.
Israeli authorities suspected that the Kuwaiti visitor and his Palestinian hosts were planning to showcase these visits as part of the banned “Jerusalem – Arab Cultural Capital 2009.”
Israel barred the events which the Palestinian Authority attempted to stage last Saturday.
Sheikh al-Sabah’s visit to the Christian Church of the Sepulcher escorted by PA officials would have provided Mahmoud Abbas with grounds to claim the custodianship of Jerusalem’s holy sites.
The Kuwaiti visitor was granted permission to visit Bethlehem.
The law bans official Palestinian Authority activity in any part of Israeli territory. It was endorsed by the PA under the Oslo Framework Accords. The “cultural” events, which PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas was to launch in Bethlehem, included playing the Palestinian national anthem, flying the Palestinian flag and playing songs of Palestinian “struggle” at the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem – all deemed a political challenge to Israeli sovereignty.

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