search

Israel cancels festival at French-linked site in East Jerusalem, alleging PA sponsorship

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev attends a ceremony at the National Headquarters of the Israel Police in Jerusalem, on September 5, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)
Public Security Minister Omer Barlev attends a ceremony at the National Headquarters of the Israel Police in Jerusalem, on September 5, 2021. (Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

Israel has canceled a cultural festival at a French-protected site in East Jerusalem, claiming it was sponsored by the Palestinian Authority without Israeli permission, which organizers deny.

The scheduled three-day festival at Abraham’s House for religious pilgrims, with performances by Palestinian arts groups, was supported by the United Nations Development Program, Finland and Austria.

Abraham’s House manager Bernard Thibaud tells AFP that performances had already begun for children yesterday when police arrived and shut it down, adding that he was “shocked and ashamed” by the cancellation.

The French consul general in Jerusalem as well as the consulate’s religious affairs advisor had also already visited the festival, diplomatic sources tell AFP.

In the cancellation order, Public Security Minister Omer Barlev wrote the event was being held “with sponsorship and funding of the Palestinian Authority, and this is without written permission.”

Police who came to the venue wore plain clothes and traveled in unmarked cars, the diplomatic sources say.

Abraham’s House is managed by a religious charity, Secours Catholique-Caritas France. It is under the protection of the French Consulate in Jerusalem, similar to the Church of Sainte-Anne in the Old City, which French President Emmanuel Macron visited last year.

Israel prohibits official Palestinian activity in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians hope to establish the capital of their future state.

comments
Never miss breaking news on Israel
Get notifications to stay updated
You're subscribed