PLC in a letter to the US: Jerualem is an occupied city 10/12/2002
By Hatem Lutfi, Jerusalem Times.
The Palestine Legislative Council sent a written letter to the US president George Bush, and to the Congress protesting the new US law which considers Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, announced Palestinian Parliament speaker Ahmed Qurei last Wednesday. President Bush has signed a spending bill last week that urges his administration to shift the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and by doing so the U.S. implicitly recognize the city as Israel’s capital.
The letter, Qurei added, focuses on the Palestinian position which considers Jerusalem an occupied city and that the US law contradicts international agreements and covenants. President Yasser Arafat announced Saturday he signed into law a nearly two-year-old bill making Jerusalem the Palestinian capital in response to the new US law. The Palestinian parliament also held a special session to discuss the issue of Jerusalem after Arafat signed the law.
The assembly, met in Ramallah with a special video link-up for members in Gaza who could not attend the session in the West Bank, reoccupied by the Israeli army since June, last Saturday. During the session, Qurei read out a tough condemnation of the US law. “This runs against the Palestinians’ national rights. It is also a slap in the face for Arab, Muslim and Christian countries,” he said at the opening of the session. “This dangerous US step comes at a time when war is being prepared against Iraq and its people. It is as if the Jerusalem issue and Iraq are part of a pattern aimed at remaking the map of the Middle East at the expense of the Palestinian people’s legitimate rights,” he said.
Also, the PLC gave President Arafat another month to appoint a new Cabinet, following the resignation of his previous Cabinet last month, Qurei said. Arafat asked the legislature for an extension on his original two-week deadline to name a new cabinet after Israeli troops besieged his Ramallah compound, destroying several buildings. Palestinian reform plans were put on hold during Arafat’s siege last month. The assembly last month rejected a previous reshuffle, announced in June, which members said did not go far enough in implementing promised reforms.
The US move has caused a furor across the Arab and Muslim worlds, which already see the administration of US President George W. Bush as pro-Israeli. On Sunday Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed warned the new US law would fuel terrorism. “It is just like pouring oil on fire,” he was quoted as saying by the official Bernama news agency.
Despite the new law, the United States insists that the status of the city should be resolved in talks between the two sides, according to US officials who tried to calm down Arab fears.