Dr Hanan Ashrawi, member of the PLO's Executive Committee today condemned Israel's arrest if cultural figures in east Jerusalem. She said: "The raid by Israeli forces of various Palestinian cultural centers in occupied Jerusalem is the latest of a long history of targeting everything Palestinian in our occupied capital.
Today, Israeli occupation forces raided the Yabous Cultural Centre and The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music and confiscated documents and equipment, after detaining the centers' directors Rania Elias and Suheil Khoury from their home. Additionally, Israeli forces wreaked havoc in the home of the director of SHAFAQ Jerusalem Arts Network, Daoud Al-Ghoul.
Israel's violent and systematic campaign against Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem aims to erase the Palestinian presence and alter the demographic and cultural make-up of the city through numerous home demolitions, forced evictions and targeting the daily livelihoods of Palestinian Jerusalemites. It has recently and repeatedly detained Palestinian officials such as the Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith and Jerusalem Minister Fadi Al-Hidmi as well as civilians and activists on a daily basis.
Accountability for Israel is certainly long overdue. The international community should muster the courage to translate its statements into concrete action in order to stop constant Israeli crimes and violations. We specifically call on UNESCO and its Director-General Ms Audrey Azoulay to fulfil its mandate in Palestine to protect Palestinian culture and heritage."