Jerusalem, 27 February 2002

Material seized at Orient House attests to wide-ranging PA activity in eastern Jerusalem
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

On August 10, 2001, the Israeli government closed several Palestinian Authority institutions in the Jerusalem area, including the Orient House and PA offices that served the governor of the Jerusalem district and the Palestinian security services in Abu Dis. The offices in eastern Jerusalem were closed by order of Public Security Minister Uzi Landau, according to the authority granted him under the law on the implementation of the interim agreement.

During the closure of the institutions, security forces uncovered documents, tapes, computers and considerable material from various periods that point to the direct link between Orient House, the PA and PA Chairman Yasser Arafat.

From the material seized, it arises that PA officials carried out ramified activities in the Jerusalem area in complete contravention of the agreements that have been signed with them. It will be pointed out that the aforementioned law obligates the PA to respect Israel’s sovereignty within the State of Israel, including eastern Jerusalem. The material seized attests to a range of activities carried out at Orient House:

1. Activity by the Palestinian security services in Jerusalem

Among the seized material were operational documents that described activity by the Palestinian security services in Jerusalem, including lists of names of residents of eastern Jerusalem (with whom the services, apparently, had dealings) and records regarding the employment of Orient House security guards in the framework of the Palestinian security services.

2. Real estate activities in eastern Jerusalem

The documents also attest that part of the financing transferred by the PA was designated for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of structures and properties of residents of eastern Jerusalem, including the Old City, and featured the direct involvement of Yasser Arafat. It should be emphasized that part of the PA’s involvement in this area stems from its goal to prevent the transfer of real estate to Jews.

3. The involvement of the PA in the appointment of various functionaries

From documents that were seized, it arises that the PA was deeply involved in the appointment of various functionaries and those holding various positions in eastern Jerusalem. The PA, especially Arafat, confirmed appointments, ranks and the financing of salaries, a fact which indicates the direct subordination of these offices to the PA.

4. Diplomatic activity

The documents indicate the extensive use of Orient House for various issues that were discussed in the political negotiations between Israel and the PA.

5. The PA’s involvement in financing

The documents shed light on details regarding the PA’s financing of, and its financial institutions’ dealings with, activities at Orient House and other offices, according to directives from Arafat. Documents were also found regarding PA financial activity in Jerusalem, carried out via Orient House. The PA thus violated the aforementioned law.

Additional documents were uncovered which attested to financial assistance which had been rendered in response to requests that had been directed to the late Faisal Husseini by people and institutions in eastern Jerusalem.

6. PA involvement in activities on the Temple Mount

Documents were found which attest to the involvement of the PA and its security services on the Temple Mount.