JERUSALEM, August 4, 2012 (WAFA) - The European Union missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah Friday called on Israel to re-open East Jerusalem institutions it has closed for 11 years.
Israel last week issued an order renewing the closure of the institutions, which include the Orient House, a de-facto PLO office in Jerusalem, as well as the Chamber of Commerce and at least a dozen other Palestinian institutions.
The EU missions “are deeply disappointed by Israel's decision to renew once again the closure order of the Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem, in particular the Orient House and the Chamber of Commerce,” said a statement.
“These institutions have been closed for 11 years now and should be allowed to reopen so that they can once again play their essential role serving East Jerusalem’s Palestinian population, as required under the Roadmap,” it said.
The Roadmap was drawn in 2003 by the Quartet for Middle East peace, which includes, along with the EU, the United States, Russia and the United Nations. It was supposed to re-launch the peace process which collapsed in 2000 when Israel refused to move from the interim agreement to the permanent stage to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
The missions’ statement said the EU “has serious concerns over the rationale for continuing the closure of these institutions and again urges Israel to reconsider these closures and to rescind its decision.”
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat had earlier condemned Israel’s decision to renew closure of the Palestinian institutions in occupied East Jerusalem describing it as an “act of piracy.”
In a letter dispatched on Wednesday to foreign representatives in Palestine, Erekat stressed that Israel was violating international law and relevant UN resolutions by continuing to close Palestinian institutions in occupied East Jerusalem, particularly the Orient House.
The said resolution endorsed the Roadmap, which considered the opening of these institutions an Israeli obligation, said Erekat in the letter.
“The closure of Palestinian institutions in Occupied East Jerusalem has undermined the efforts of the Palestinian leadership to provide vital services to Palestinians and has undercut Palestinian political presence in the occupied city,” said the letter.
Erekat described the continuing closure of the Palestinian institutions as part of an Israeli policy aimed at “changing the demographic composition, character and status of the occupied city.”
He added, “This policy is also part of the overall Israeli policy of institutionalizing occupation and making it irreversible, further entrenching the one state reality of segregation, oppression, humiliation, and exploitation the Palestinian people now confront.”
Erekat warned the foreign diplomats that failing to hold Israel accountable for its violations of Palestinian national and human rights as well as international law, UN resolutions and previous agreements “would contribute to the consolidation of Israeli occupation and perpetuate the conflict.”