Israel’s Shin Bet Security Services detained on Thursday the Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Khaled Abu Arafa, as he drove from Jerusalem to Al Ezariyya town, east of the city.
A Hamas official said that Israeli border policemen appeared to have been waiting for Arafa and stopped his vehicle as his car was driving toward Al Ezariyya.
Abu Arafa is, an independent minister at the Hamas-led Palestinian government, was apparently attempting to reach the office of Ziad Abu Ziad, his Fateh predecessor, for handover ceremony. The bodyguard of Abu Arafa was also arrested.
One of Hamas officials said that the soldiers stopped the car of Abu Arafa and ordered him to step out, and when he refused they forced him at gunpoint.
The Israeli security confirmed the arrest saying that Abu Arafa was arrested for “attempting to enter the Palestinian territories with his Israeli identity card”, and that “Israelis are not allowed to enter the Gaza Strip and the West Bank”.
Also, troops arrested Ahmad Jaljeel, a photographer for the Al Quds daily newspaper; Jaljeel was in the car with the minister.
Jaljeel told the Associated Press that soldiers opened the car and pushed Abu Arafa out after he refused to step out”.
“They ordered him to sit on the ground, then checked his identity card and ordered him to get into their jeep”, he said, “He refused, then they pushed him in”.
Abu Arafa, a Jerusalem resident born in1961, has been arrested by Israel several times in the past.
The new Palestinian government headed by Hamas movement was sworn in last week.