Israeli police raided the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem on Monday night, June 18, and broke up an event attended by many Palestinian officials and intellectuals and other distinguished public guests including the deputy governor of East Jerusalem Abdullah Siyam, the Greek Orthodox Archbishop Atallah, representatives Russian Embassy, and graduates of the universities of the Soviet Union and Russia. Among those attending was chairman of the Joint List MK Ayman Odeh.
The police order issued to ban the conference stated that the district police commander’s decision was taken to prevent a conference organized by the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
The Russian Embassy in Israel denied vociferously on Tuesday, June 19, that the conference in which the chairman of the Joint List was to participate was the initiative of the PLFP and the DFLP. According to embassy officials, the invitation to the event read: “The Russian Embassy and the Palestinian-Russian Friendship Society invite you to participate in an event marking the Russia National Day of on Monday June 18 at 19:00 in the Ambassador Hotel in Jerusalem” thereby contradicting the version of the police.
Dr. Haider Aghanin, the Russian Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority, was delivering a speech affirming the Russian position that recognizes East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine, when Israeli police tried to stop his speech by cutting the electricity in the celebration hall, but he continued anyway.
Dr. Samir Khatib, chairman of the Association of Russian and Soviet University Graduates in Israel, said in response: “This is not an incident related to terrorism. This is a completely legitimate event in cooperation with the Russian Embassy, which for political reasons alone the Police decided to break up without knowing what it was about. There is no connection to the organizations mentioned in the police order.” He asked “Could it be that the Russian representatives were supposed to take part in a terrorist incident?”