Palestinian Authority policemen arrested Palestinian-Canadian investor Mohamed Al Sabawi on Monday for “insulting” PA President Mahmoud Abbas. He was released after being held for eight hours.

Al Sabawi, 68, was arrested from his office in Ramallah by several armed PA policemen and taken to a police station.

Al Sabawi is president of the Board of Directors and director- general of Ahlia Insurance Group, which employs hundreds of Palestinians in the West Bank.

A video posted on YouTube documented Al Sabawi’s arrest.



“The PA claims my father ‘insulted’ a PA representative,” Al Sabawi’s son, Khaled, said in a posting on Facebook. “They showed up with seven men, armed to the teeth, at our office building and forced us to the police station. I think he hurt Mahmoud Abbas’s feelings.”

The son, who is from Ontario, Canada, accompanied his father to the police station. Khaled said the arrest of his father shows that US Secretary of State John Kerry’s plan to bring $4 billion in private investment to the Palestinian territories is “nonsense.”

“Come and invest in the PA areas, but if you don’t bribe their corrupt officials, the PA will arrest you,” he said. “This is a desperate political arrest by an undemocratic Palestinian Authority president who has no credibility amongst his people.

My father has dedicated his life to employing Palestinians.”

Al Sabawi was arrested two weeks after he publicly called for overthrowing Abbas. He made that statement after PA security officers entered the building housing Ahlia Insurance Group as part of an operation to secure the visit of French President Francois Hollande to Ramallah. Al Sabawi tried to prevent the officers from entering the building, arguing that their action was illegal.

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