Israel ups security measures ahead of Palestinian cultural festival 2009-03-21 18:32:55   Print

Special Report: Palestine-Israel Conflicts 

    JERUSALEM, March 21 (Xinhua) -- Israeli police beefed up their presence in Jerusalem on Saturday following orders to prevent a Palestinian cultural event.

    Large security forces have been deployed in the Old City and Arab neighborhoods in the Holy City, preparing for possible clashes regarding the Palestinian Culture Festival, organized by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and originally scheduled to take place Saturday.

    Citing the law that forbids any event organized and funded by the PNA within Jerusalem's municipal jurisdiction, local police announced on Friday that they would block the festival, whose theme is "Jerusalem - the Capital of Arab Culture."

    Israeli authorities have also cancelled the event in Nazareth, the country's largest Arab city located in the north.

    The red light came after Israeli Public Security Minister Avi Dichter instructed police to act forcefully against any attempts by the PNA to stage events in Jerusalem or other parts of Israel, reported local daily Ha'aretz.

    "This government is not only an enemy of any hope for peace, but also an enemy of culture and all that is humane," Mohammed Barakeh, an Arab lawmaker from the Hadash party, was quoted as saying.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was scheduled to open the festival in Ramallah, which is also slated to take place in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon and the West Bank city of Bethlehem.


Editor: Wang Guanqun
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