Orient House

   A building in East Jerusalem owned by the family of the late veteran Palestine Liberation Organization and Palestinian Authority (PA) official Faisal Hussein. It served as the effective headquarters for the Palestinian delegation to the 1991 Madrid Middle East Peace Conference. Since the start of the Oslo peace process, the Palestinians continued to use Orient House as a seat of their political activities in East Jerusalem, insisting on holding meetings there with foreign diplomats and journalists. That this activity took place despite the fact that the Declaration of Principles and subsequent implementing agreements specifically restricted Palestinian political affairs to areas outside of Jerusalem and prevented the PA from conducting defense and foreign policy was viewed by Israel as a direct challenge to its sovereignty over the unified city. In response, successive Israeli governments since 1993 introduced legislation granting police the authority to close Orient House. However, Israel was under international pressure not to implement this legislation for fear of provoking a diplomatic crisis.
   See also Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Historical Dictionary of Israel. .

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