Israeli police accused the men of being active in PA security forces. Palestinians say the arrests are part of Israeli efforts to sediment the occupation.
In overnight raids, Israeli military police arrested 32 Palestinians in Jerusalem on Sunday, November 25, 2018. On Twitter, the Israeli police¬†accused¬†the men of being active in PA security forces. The Palestinian News and Info Agency¬†reported¬†that at least 20 of the men are activists with the ruling party in the Palestinian Authority (PA), Fateh.
Just before Sunday‚Äôs mass arrests, Israeli police detained the PA Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith for¬†a second time, this month. The police did not provide a reason for his arrest, though in October, Israeli security forces explained that he is suspected of ‚Äúillegal activity by [the Palestinian Authority] in Jerusalem,‚ÄĚ the Times of Israel¬†reported. That night, Palestinians¬†protested¬†for his freedom in downtown Jerusalem. Israeli police arrested three demonstrators there.
On Thursday, November 29, an Israeli court ruled to release 21 of the 32 Palestinians arrested. The conditions of their release include bail, five days of house arrest and a ban from the West Bank for two weeks,¬†according to the Palestinian Information Center. The remaining detainees await trial. Ghaith‚Äôs remand was extended until Sunday.
The same day, Israeli police¬†summoned¬†PA Jerusalem Affairs Minister Adnan al-Husayni and PA Deputy Governor of Jerusalem Abdullah Siam for interrogation. The week prior, Israeli authorities banned al-Husayni from traveling abroad for three months.
Palestinians view the arrests of Palestinians under the pretext of PA involvement as part of Israeli efforts to sediment the occupation of Jerusalem.
Head of the Palestinian National Christian Coalition Dimitri Diliani told local media: ‚ÄúThe arrest campaign against Governor [Ghatih] and dozens of activists is for political reasons.‚ÄĚ
Ziad Hammouri, director of Jerusalem‚Äôs center for social and economic rights,¬†told¬†Middle East Eye:
Israel is escalating against the PA‚Äôs presence after the US moved its embassy to the city. The PA presence in Jerusalem isn‚Äôt new, and residents of the city working in the PA‚Äôs security forces are well-known and no one tried to hide it. The PA‚Äôs presence in Jerusalem manifests itself in helping the residents in cases against the Israeli authorities, whether demolished houses, paying for lawyers, solving disputes between Palestinians in the city.
Israeli authorities criminalize and ban a wide range of Palestinian events and organizations¬†in the holy city under the¬†pretext of¬†PA,¬†Palestinian¬†political party¬†and¬†‚Äúterrorist‚ÄĚ¬†involvement.
Ahmad Jaradat is the Senior Project Coordinator of the Alternative Information Center (AIC).
(edited for the IMEMC by c h r i s @ i m e m c . o r g)