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Cablegate: East Jerusalem Palestinian Housing Council

VZCZCXRO7930
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHJM #2321 3661346
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 311346Z DEC 08
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 3636
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY

UNCLAS JERUSALEM 002321

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE. NSC FOR ABRAMS/RAMCHAND/PASCUAL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KWBG IS PREL PBTS PGOV
SUBJECT: EAST JERUSALEM PALESTINIAN HOUSING COUNCIL
RE-OPENS AFTER CLOSURE

1. (SBU) On December 31, the East Jerusalem-based
Palestinian Housing Council (PHC) reopened after a six-month
closure. The Israeli Ministry of Internal Security closed
the PHC on July 2, 2008, claiming that it was a Palestinian
Authority (PA) agency operating illegally in Jerusalem. The
Council filed suit to revoke the closure order, and the
Israeli government failed to submit evidence to support
renewing it, according to local press.

2. (SBU) PHC Chairman Ibrahim Shaaban told PolOff that the
PHC is registered with Israeli authorities and has paid all
required fees since 1991. Shaaban commented that the closure
was for political reasons and Israeli authorities decided not
to renew the closure order because they had no evidence
linking the PHC to the PA. In 2001, eight East Jerusalem
Palestinian institutions (including the Orient House), were
closed by the GOI using the same justification. These eight
remain closed. (Comment: While the PHC's opening is
positive, it is unlikely to influence reopening of other
closed East Jerusalem institutions. Jerusalem Palestinian
political interlocutors say their Israeli counterparts tell
them decisions on the primary East Jerusalem institutions are
reserved for the Israeli Prime Minister, and reopenings are
not being actively considered. End comment).

WALLES

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