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Yesterday morning Uzi Landau, the Israeli Minister of Internal Security ordered the Jerusalem Police to close the Administrative Offices of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem. This is the office of one of the main civil society Palestinian peace leaders Prof. Sari Nusseibeh. Prof. Nusseibeh was abroad at the time of the closure participating in a meeting with civil society peace leaders from Israel.
Last month Prof. Nusseibeh initiated the petition that was published over the course of a week in the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds against suicide bombers. Prof. Nusseibeh is an active participant and leading figure in many peace activities including activities under the umbrella of IPCRI. In addition to the closure, the Police and the Shin Bet confiscated of all of the books, papers, and equipment from Sari’s office, including all of his personal papers.
Minister Landau stated on radio that Nusseibeh was carrying out illegal activities in his office as an arm of the Palestinian Authority. Prof. Sari does hold the Jerusalem portfolio in the framework of the PLO but does not represent the Palestinian Authority nor is he part of it. The irony of Landau’s action is that it is predicated on the "Law for the Implementation of the Oslo Agreements". This law was enacted by the Knesset to facilitate the legal implementation of the creation of the Palestinian Authority. For the most part, the law was used to prevent the PA from working in Jerusalem. Landau was and still is one of the main opponents of the peace and Oslo within the Likud.
We would like to ask you to raise your voice against this action. It seems that people like Uzi Landau cannot tolerate a Palestinian leader who sincerely seeks peace. Just a few days ago Prof. Sari said that he feared that the Israeli Government will work on preventing his activities for peace.
I spoke with Justice Minister Meir Shitreet yesterday at 3:00 pm about the closure of the office. He had not heard about it. Shitreet is a member of the Cabinet, he said that there was no discussion about it in the Cabinet. He promised to raise the issue with Sharon. He clearly stated that this was a wrong move and that it is important to encourage the moderate voices in Palestine.
I also spoke with MK Yossi Katz, Chairman of the Knesset Central Committee and a member of the Labour Party. He promised to raise the issue in the highest forum of the Labour Party in order to reach a Party decision to protest the closure.
Please send a fax of protest to:
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon – fax number: 972-2-566-4838
Minister Uzi Landau: fax number: 972-2-581-1832
Gershon Baskin, Ph.D., is Co-Director of Israel / Palestine Center for Research and Information (IPCRI), a joint Palestinian-Israeli public policy think-tank, founded in Jerusalem in 1988.