Orient House is Reopened, Symbol of formal Palestinian Foothold in Jerusalem
“The Palestinians are about to fulfill a dream. Israel’s pullout from the Gaza Strip next week is but the preface to more withdrawals on the road to a Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital.
So said the chairman of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday, August 9.
Palestinian leaders have every right to the mood of euphoria that Abu Mazen voiced on their behalf.
For without conceding a single point, giving anything in return, setting the Middle East road map in motion – or even starting to crack down on terrorists, the Palestinians will soon be granted:
1. The Gaza Strip rid of every last Jew and Israeli as their exclusive domain.
2. For the first time, they will share an open border with the largest Arab nation, Egypt.
3. A deepwater port over whose shipping traffic Israel will have no control.
4. A territorial link from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.
There is no doubt that Abu Mazen has done a lot better than the late Arafat who never dreamed of fulfilling so many dreams. When he spoke of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem its capital, Abbas was not talking out of his hat.
Although not a word of this has been leaked thus far, Orient House, the symbol of Palestinian Authority sovereign rule in East Jerusalem, has reopened for business for the first time in four years. In 2001, this symbol was demonstratively shut down on the orders of the first Sharon government. Now, the Palestinian leader has jumped the gun and set his brand on Jerusalem, the seat of the Israeli government, ahead of peace negotiations or any talks with Israel on the profoundly controversial Jerusalem issue.
debkafile‘s Palestinians sources reveal that the Palestinian Authority, on Abbas’ orders, has begun issuing communiques to the Palestinians of East Jerusalem. They appear under the letterhead of the Orient House, “the National Headquarters of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem.”
A Website is headed “The Orient House for the International Community.” Its first messages are a long list of alleged Israeli violations of the Geneva Conventions. The institution has recovered its former function as the Palestinian communications channel foreign missions, embassies, consulates and liaison offices in Jerusalem.
But that is just the beginning. According to our sources, Abbas has just appointed a new Palestinian intelligence commander for the West Bank. He is Rashid Nafa, former chief of Palestinian special forces. The instructions he received from his boss are clear and were transmitted to the regional intelligence commanders. Their missions, they were told, focus on Jerusalem according to the following order of priorities set by Abu Mazen.
A. Priority Number One: Palestinian intelligence must assure itself of a presence and the freedom to operate in the city.
B. Priority Number Two: To contain the “Judaization” of Jerusalem and its environs.
The way Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and defense minister Shaul Mofaz enthuse over their newfound collaboration with the Palestinian Authority, it would have been natural to assume that Abu Mazen had at long last instructed his intelligence chief to start cracking down on the terrorist networks infesting Palestinian West Bank cities. However, no such mission figured on Nafa’s order of priorities, although he had plenty to say about strengthening Palestinian government in Jerusalem.