Caught Between the Palestinian Authority and Saudi Arabia, Arab Jerusalem Goes Its Own Way

June 28, 2019 | Pinḥas Inbari
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Recently, public institutions—including hospitals—in eastern Jerusalem have reported that they have stopped receiving funding from the Palestinian Authority (PA). Meanwhile, Al-Quds University, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian institution, split with the PA by applying to join the Israel’s Council for Higher Education. Pinḥas Inbari explains that these developments suggest that Arab Jerusalemites—whose legal status is intermediate between that of Palestinians and that of Arab Israelis—increasingly see themselves as distinct from West Bank Palestinians:

Saudi Arabia [has] refused to recognize travel documents that are not proper passports. This means that residents of eastern Jerusalem need to choose between a Palestinian or Israeli passport, and they are choosing the Israeli option. The Saudis [have likewise called] for Jordan to give full citizenship to many Palestinians who are not yet considered Jordanian nationals, and that Lebanon is obliged to absorb its Palestinian refugees. . . .

[Meanwhile], the PA headquarters was particularly incensed by the fact that on the “global day of rage” marking the transfer of the [U.S. embassy to Jerusalem], Arab Jerusalemite and Arab-Israeli youths partied with drinking and dancing [at unrelated celebrations in the West Bank city of] Rawabi instead of attacking IDF checkpoints.

As a result, [the PA] government circulated an order requiring Israeli Arabs and residents of eastern Jerusalem to report to the police if they want to rent an apartment in Ramallah or the West Bank in general. In other words, for the first time, the Palestinian Authority has recognized that residents of eastern Jerusalem are part of the Israeli Arab community and could be potentially recruited by Israeli intelligence against the Palestinian Authority.

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