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Israel nixes East Jerusalem event after PA link uncovered

Public Security Minister Erdan, using Oslo Accord clause to shut down cultural activity, says he won’t allow Palestinians to gain foothold in Israel

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan at the swearing-in ceremony of new police officers  at the Ministry of Interior Security in Jerusalem on January 11, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan at the swearing-in ceremony of new police officers at the Ministry of Interior Security in Jerusalem on January 11, 2016. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan canceled a cultural event in East Jerusalem on Sunday, when he discovered the Palestinian Authority was behind it, his office announced.

The event, “CPR for Palestinian Cultural Institutions in Jerusalem,” was scheduled to take place in the El-Hakawati Theater, also known as the Palestinian National Theater, located in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz.

Erdan, however, discovered that a Palestinian Authority representative was supposed to preside over the event, which required Israel’s pre-approval, according to the 1994 Oslo Accords.

The PA did not contact the Israeli government for permission to hold an event in Israeli territory, Erdan’s office said in a statement.

“I will not permit any violation of Israeli sovereignty and give a foothold to the PA in Israeli territory,” Erdan said.

In June 2013, then-public security minister Yitzhak Aharonovich issued an eight-day closing order for the al-Hakawati Theater, also for organizing an event with the PA without Israel’s approval.

“The decision was made because illegal activity was undertaken under the auspices and funding of the Palestinian Authority without permission,” the Public Security Ministry told The Times of Israel at the time. “The public security minister is authorized to use a warrant to prevent any illegal gathering or meeting, and that is what was done in this case.”

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