Over the years the PLO leadership past and present abandoned Arab Jerusalem and proved over and over again that it is unfit, unqualified and too corrupt to represent the Palestinians of East Jerusalem let alone represent the interests of billions of Muslims and Christians around the world, given the unsavory history of consistent failures.
While much appreciated and welcomed the suggestions of the Emir of Qatar to set up a one billions dollar for Jerusalem may be little too late to save the Muslim and Christian nature of Jerusalem and its international character. Jerusalem a city for the world for Jews, Muslims and Christians and must not be must be entrusted to the likes of Bibi Netanyahu or Mahmoud Abbas.
It will be a big and fatal mistake on the part of the Arab states to entrust the PLO and Palestinian leadership with such funds. The PLO history is riddle with corruption, mismanagement and the looting of tens of billions of the people money. The leadership past and present was never held accountable for the funds entrusted to it over the years, and never made full accounting of its operation let alone published personal financial statements of the leadership and key Fatah and government officials.
Notwithstanding claims by the leadership to go after corruption and corrupt officials, those who looted hundreds of millions of the official budgets since Oslo hardly any one was ever brought to court and hardly anyone ever convicted let alone was there a public proceeding. In the old Arabic saying “Hameeha Harameeha” in other word “those entrusted to guard end up being the thieves”.
Over the years and since the Israeli Occupation of 67 East Jerusalem which was annexed by Israel shortly after the war was totally neglected and abandoned by the Palestinian leadership if not by the Arabs and Muslims with the international Christian leadership paying lip service to the protections of Christian rights and Christian nature of the city.
It was in July of 75 when the Organization of Islamic Cooperation set up a permanent committee “Jerusalem Committee” headed by the late King of Morocco and continues to be headed by his son King Mohamed VI of Morocco, with the purpose of “ to salvage the City of Alquds Alsharif” and “ extend assistance to the Palestinian population and Palestinian institutions in the holy capital and “ to safe guard and restore the Alaqsa Mosque and other holy sites in the city as well” and to maintain “ the cultural religious and architectural heritage of the city”.
Morocco as head of the committee has been active in not only raising funds for the city to meet such mission however the kind of funding city needs is way beyond what is raised annually. And thanks the Palestinian leadership is neither in charge of the money nor its distribution.
I say the Palestinian leadership past and present is not fit nor qualified to take responsibility for Jerusalem for good reasons. The leadership while outside of Occupied Palestine did not make the needed efforts to provide the leadership needed to help maintained the Arabs (Muslim and Christian) character of the city, in Oslo it gave up all pretences to do that.
The Palestinian leadership of the PLO never gave Jerusalem the priority it urgently needed and in Oslo it simply waived all rights in Jerusalem in favor of the town of Abu-Dis, the home city of Ahmed Quari who headed the Oslo negotiations and who was the brain or lack of it, behind dividing the Palestinian territories into different area and different categories (A, B, C and A1) all of which allowed Israel to legally solidified its hold over Jerusalem.
The Palestinian negotiators having secured the different classification of the land went ahead and purchased large tracks of the land on the cheap in Abu-Dis building investment properties with the pretence it will be needed for the future capital of Palestine. What no one dares to say is that Abu-Dis is the “Jerusalem” capital of the State of Palestine if and when Israel decides to do so. East Jerusalem and its people were never a priority in Oslo.
The Arabs, Palestinians, Muslims and Jews all should be reminded of the statement of Saeb Erekat head of the PLO negotiation team when he promised to Israel the “biggest Yureshalem” in Jewish history
The PLO/Palestinian leadership totally neglected to give the city or its Palestinian residents any support in their fight against aggressive Israeli policy of “ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from East Jerusalem” by denying funding to the legal committee that represents the Palestinians in their fights against confiscation of property and house demolition.
Such failure forced Hatem Abdel Qader the “minister of Jerusalem Affairs” in Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayad government to submit his resignation back in 2009 claiming the leadership and the PA “ contributes nothing to the efforts to keep residence on the land” and “ treasury does not pay the legal fees to the lawyers in their legal campaign against Israeli demolition”. Perhaps the saving from business expenses of the leadership functionaries in restaurants and bars in Ramallah can cover such expenses.
Since Oslo more than 70,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from East Jerusalem. Even till today, the Palestinian leadership never bothered to appoint a credible and well-known personality to take the lead on Jerusalem with power, authority and funds to match the task he/she faces.
Of course Arab East Jerusalem have to fend for themselves and have to fend against powerful criminal Jewish settlers and trespassers generously supported and funded by drug, prostitutions and gambling money from rich and powerful American Jewish donors, with the Israeli courts providing the legal cover for such criminal activities such as forgery and grand slam theft of Arab properties right under the eyes of the US and the “international community” that funds such occupation.
Like in so many criminal regimes, Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, and many dictatorships around the world, Israel is not exception when it comes to the use of “the laws” to implement its policy to confiscate Palestinian properties and exile Palestinians. There are too many laws that allow Israel to do this “legally” just like the Nazis who used the “laws” to deprive Jews of their properties and even their lives.
Among these laws are the “Emergency Regulations”, “Security Zones”, “Absentees Property Law” to the “Abandoned Areas Ordinance” all of which permit the State of Israel to throw the people off their land, declare them absent and declare the areas as abandoned and then legally take over Palestinian properties. No doubt a lesson learned from a history of prosecution.
Now back to the announcement of the Emir of Qatar and the setting up of a One Billion dollar fund for Jerusalem. First of all the Palestinian leadership and the PLO must not be part of the plan and must not be entrusted with the fund or the policy.
It is best that the Arab states set up an “executive committee” of three well-known personalities from the Arab world (Jewish, Christian and Muslim) to manage the funds and to set up the policies and become the advocated for a “Jerusalem for All”.
The committee should seek the assistance and support of well qualified team of international lawyers and public relation companies to help it in its efforts and duties, and should set up and organize an international day of “Jerusalem for All” and convene an international forum of world leaders Christians, Muslims and Jews perhaps in Rome perhaps in Washington within hearing distance from Congress with millions attending rallies calling for and demanding a “Jerusalem for All”, open and united for the billions of people around the world.
Sami, a Palestinian-American and a US Army Veteran (66-68), recipient of the “soldier of the month award and leadership award from the 6th Army NCO Academy, is an international legal and business consultant with over 40 years of international experience, in construction, hospitality services, conservation, and defense, in the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa. Sami is a holder of BA, MPA in Public and Environmental Affairs, Jurist Doctor from Indiana University. While at IU he was elected class president, student government president and chairman of the Indiana Students Association,
Active in peace movement as a co-author of the pre-amble for the One State for All of its people and voluntary service program SalamNation. A frequent contributor on national and international affairs. He resides in the United States.