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
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.