Billion-dollar fund to keep East Jerusalem ‘Arab’

An Arab League plan to create a $1bn fund to preserve the Arab character of East Jerusalem has been called a “badge of shame” by an Israeli government spokesperson.

At a meeting of the Arab League in Doha on Tuesday the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, called for the establishment of the fund in his opening speech. He said that Qatar would donate $250m.

"The summit... calls for setting up a fund to support Jerusalem to the value of $1 billion to finance projects and programs that would maintain the Arab and Islamic character of the city and reinforce the steadfastness of its people," said the draft resolution, which was passed.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the fund in his speech to the summit, saying the ‘Israeli occupation’ had ‘Judaised’ East Jerusalem.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Yigal Palmor called the project “absurd” and a “badge of shame” for Qatar.

Mr Palmor told Haaretz: "Objecting to 'Judaisation of Jerusalem,' so to speak, is absurd and is equitable to an objection to the Catholic nature of the Vatican or the Islamisation of Mecca, it is naturally unthinkable.”

Last updated: 1:17pm, March 28 2013