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Rabin Lets Jerusalem Take Action Against Orient House

In a move signaling a readiness to take a tougher stand on Palestinian activity in Jerusalem, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin has allowed city officials to take legal action against Orient House, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s headquarters in eastern Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert has threatened to shut down Orient House, saying it is illegally used for offices, though it is zoned as a hotel.

After a ministerial meeting Monday, Rabin gave Olmert support to move against Orient House if it continued to ignore demands that it apply for rezoning.

In a related development, Police Minister Moshe Shahal vowed to close down the offices at Orient House because their presence threatens the city’s status as Israel’s united capital.

In a statement issued after the ministerial meeting, Shahal said he would try to limit foreign dignitaries visiting Orient House from discussing issues related to sovereignty.

Shahal called for adoption of a firm policy against the Palestinian trend “to establish facts in eastern Jerusalem.”

The Knesset last year passed legislation barring the Palestinian Authority from operating outside the self-rule areas of Gaza and the Jericho enclave.

Final-status talks between Israel and the Palestinians are slated for 1996. The talks will include the issue of Jerusalem.

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