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PA’s Fayyad shuns ban, attends Jerusalem dedication

PA’s Fayyad shuns ban, attends Jerusalem dedication

(JTA) — Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad attended dedication ceremonies for a school in eastern Jerusalem, despite an Israeli ban.

Fayyad attended the dedication Tuesday of a school in the Dahiyat al-Barid neighborhood, which is located on the Palestinian side of the security fence. He skipped ceremonies to inaugurate a road in Shuafat and a visit to a school in Sheik Jarrah.

The events were part of an effort to celebrate PA-sponsored renovations of 15 schools in eastern Jerusalem. The Palestinian Authority also repaired several roads in the areas near Palestinian neighborhoods.

Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch had issued a warrant a day earlier saying that PA events are prohibited on Israeli soil. Aharonovitch’s office clarified Tuesday that Fayyad’s visit to a school on the Palestinian side of the security fence did not violate that order.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday also ordered security officials not to allow the Palestinian Authority to hold political events within Jerusalem’s municipal borders.

The PA renovations on the schools, which do not receive funding from either the Education Ministry or the city of Jerusalem, came as a surprise to Israeli officials.

Speaking at the ceremony in Dahiyat al-Barid, Fayyad said that the suburbs of Jerusalem were part of the Palestinian capital, Israel Radio reported.

"Netanyahu defined these suburbs as suburbs of Jerusalem, the united capital. And we say, yes, these are suburbs, but suburbs of our occupied capital which will always be the capital of our independent state," said Fayyad, who planted an olive tree at the entrance to the school.

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