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EU calls on Israel to reopen Orient House in Jerusalem

January 31, 2014 at 12:13 am

The European Union has called on the Israeli authorities to let Palestinians reopen the Orient House and the Arab Chamber of Commerce in Occupied East Jerusalem. In a joint statement, the European missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah said that they “regret the recent Israeli decision extending once again the closure order against the Orient House and the Chamber of Commerce” which were shut down by the Israelis in 2001, after the eruption of the second Palestinian Intifada (uprising).

“The EU firmly believes that these institutions should be allowed to reopen and resume their operations as focal points for Palestinians in East Jerusalem, as required under the Road Map,” said the statement. “The Road Map obliges the Israeli government to reopen the institutions that it had closed in Jerusalem, but it has not fulfilled that obligation.”

The Israeli occupation authorities closed the Orient House in 2001 on the grounds that it violated the Oslo Accords by constituting a headquarters for the PLO. Israel also closed the Arab Chamber of Commerce on the grounds that it worked for the PLO. The closure order has been extended every six months since 2001.