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Israel to Close Orient House, Other Eastern Jerusalem Sites

Israel has decided to adopt measures to bring to an end what it describes as illegal Palestine Liberation Organization activities in Jerusalem.

The measures will include closing down Orient House, the de facto Palestinian headquarters in eastern Jerusalem.

The decision was made at a meeting Wednesday of members of the Ministerial Committee on Jerusalem – which includes Police Minister Moshe Shahal and Justice Minister David Libai – who conferred with security and legal advisers and with Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert.

The group agreed to meet again to plan a line of action.

Shahal said he plans to issue warrants in the near future to close down Palestinian institutions operating in eastern Jerusalem that are suspected of having illegal ties with the Palestinian Authority.

The Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported Wednesday that intelligence sources had recommended removing from Jerusalem the Waqf Islamic Trust, which administers the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem and other Islamic holy sites.

The paper reported that the measures were aimed at preventing the establishment of a shadow Palestinian municipality in eastern Jerusalem.

The report said that in recent months, the Palestinian Authority has had a deepening influence in eastern Jerusalem.

One example given in the report was the sphere of education, where the Education Department of the Palestinian self-rule government was controlling the curriculum of 50 percent of the students in private schools in eastern Jerusalem, a role previously held by Jordan.

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