Israel Arrests Palestinian Authority Members in East Jerusalem
Israel escalated its open war against the Palestinian official presence in East Jerusalem, arresting on Monday 32 people belonging to the Palestinian Authority security services and the Fatah movement.
The unprecedented wave of arrests came just a day after the detention of Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith, the highest-ranking Palestinian official and President Mahmoud Abbas’ representative in the city.
Israeli police said it had arrested persons “suspected of” recruiting staff and working for the Palestinian security services.
Israeli forces raided many houses in Jerusalem in the largest-ever campaign against the PA. They arrested young men and published pictures of Palestinian security services membership cards, uniforms and other various equipment.
Israel has threatened that it would deal “firmly with residents and Israeli citizens acting on behalf of the Palestinian Authority” and what it described as “other terrorist organizations.” It added that such acts “violate the law and harm the sovereignty and security of the State of Israel.”
Israeli authorities prevent any official action by the PA in Jerusalem as a unified capital city of Israel. Thus, sovereignty over the city is Israeli, but the Authority regards the city as the capital of the future Palestinian state.
Spokesman of the Palestinian security forces, Maj. Gen. Adnan Al-Dumeiri, said that the wave of arrests would “not prevent the people in general and Jerusalemites in particular from performing their national, moral and humanitarian duties.”
The recent measures by the Israeli security are believed to be linked to recent investigations by Palestinians and the arrest of a resident of East Jerusalem on suspicion that he facilitated the selling of land to Jews. The man was transferred to the Palestinian general intelligence prison.
Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reported that the detention of Israeli citizen Issam Aqel constituted a danger to the security of the state and that Israeli actions against the PA were aimed at forcing the Palestinians to release him.