Israel is investigating the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem over suspected terrorism, in the first such allegation against the often-arrested leader, his lawyer said Monday.
Israel arrests PA's Jerusalem governor for the 17th time https://t.co/JZaPvfwJVl
— Middle East Monitor (@MiddleEastMnt) July 21, 2020
Adnan Ghaith has been arrested by Israeli security forces more than 10 times over the past two years, but typically over the minor offence of engaging in “illegal” political activities in the disputed city.
Arrest of governor over ‘terrorism’
He has generally been released within a day or two.
But Ghaith’s lawyer Mohammed Mahmoud told that in addition to political offences the governor was being probed over “planning an act of terrorism,” and not expected to be released soon.
Under Israeli law, a broad range of offences fall under the terrorism umbrella, and the probe does not necessarily mean Ghaith is suspected of plotting an act of violence.
It was the first time Ghaith was the subject of a terrorism investigation and Israel’s powerful domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, was involved in the case, Mahmoud said.
The Shin Bet did not immediately respond to a query about the investigation.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told that Ghaith had been arrested at his east Jerusalem home on Sunday.
“He is being questioned by security forces,” Rosenfeld said.
Israel’s reign of terror continues
Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.
It considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.
Israel bans all Palestinian Authority activities in the city.
As a result, the PA has a minister for Jerusalem affairs and a Jerusalem governor located in Al-Ram, just on the other side of an Israeli wall that separates the city and the occupied West Bank.
Ghaith has repeatedly been arrested for allegedly carrying out PA activities in east Jerusalem, including for working to ensure Palestinians in the city had access to essential services in the battle against coronavirus.
Adnan Ghaith has been arrested many times, including once for ensuring Palestinians have essential services in pandemic battle https://t.co/hrjCW4IUB2
— The National (@TheNationalUAE) July 21, 2020
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Ghaith, a resident of Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood and a longtime Fatah activist, to the role of PA Jerusalem governor in August 2018. In his role, Ghaith is responsible for overseeing PA activity in the neighborhoods within its jurisdiction on the edges and outside of Jerusalem.
Prior plans to annex the West Bank
More than 450,000 Israelis live in West Bank settlements deemed illegal under international law, alongside 2.8 million Palestinians.
Washington’s proposals provide for the creation of a Palestinian state, but on reduced territory and without the Palestinians’ core demand of a capital in east Jerusalem. The plan had previously been rejected in its entirety by the Palestinians.
The European Union opposes it and is demanding that Israel abandon its annexation ambitions.
Just days before Israel intended to kick-start plans to annex its West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley, Michelle Bachelet added her voice to the chorus urging Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to drop the proposal. It remains to be seen whether this appeal by one of the most influential global personalities has any effect on the stone-hearted Prime Minister.
Not a first for Israel
Earlier in April, Israeli occupation forces arrested eight Palestinians from the occupied West Bank over the past 2 days despite the complete lockdown in place to combat the coronavirus, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club reported.
The group said in a statement that Israeli forces have continued with their arrest campaigns which target “patients, the elderly and children” despite the coronavirus pandemic ignoring warnings that the spread of the coronavirus would have dire consequences in jail.
Among those detainees was former member of Palestinian parliament who has been deported from Jerusalem, Muhammad Abu Tair. The sixty-eight-year-old has spent a total of nearly 34 years in the occupation’s prisons.
According to the statement, the detainees are from the governorates of Ramallah and Al-Bireh, Qalqilya, Nablus and Bethlehem.
Earlier on Friday, Israeli police also arrested the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs for allegedly violating an Israeli ban on Palestinian political activities in East Jerusalem.
Fadi al-Hidmi was arrested at his home in Suwana neighbourhood near the Mount of Olives.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk