The mayor of Abu Ghosh has denied a report about plans to establish a center in the name of arch terrorist Yasser Arafat, though others say there was a plan but it was cancelled in the face of local opposition, The Times of Israel said on Monday.
“I promise you there is no such project. They won’t establish such a thing; we don’t have room for this thing,” said Issa Abu Ghosh, the mayor of the Arab town of about 7,000 located six miles west of Yerushalayim, adjacent to the Jewish community of Telze Stone.
However, in an interview on Sunday, he had indicated there was such a plan for an Arafat center within the town’s recently built mosque, though it would be limited to spiritual affairs, he said.
“Even during the most difficult times, during times of war, during Operation Protective Edge (in 2014), they didn’t think about something like this. Why would they do something like this in Abu Ghosh? Why would they want to damage relations?” asked Jawdat Ibrahim, the wealthy owner of the town’s well-known Abu Ghosh restaurant.
Abu Ghosh has for many years maintained friendly relations with the majority Jewish towns surrounding it.
The idea for an Arafat center was said to have been that of Palestinian billionaire and energy mogul Munib al-Masri, chairman of the Jerusalem Endowment Fund. Masri had visited the grand Mosque of Abu Ghosh on April 22, where he spoke of building a memorial to the Palestinian terrorist leader.