Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem shout slogans in protest against US recognition of Jerusalem.
(photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)
In a rare move, security forces this week arrested a former senior Palestinian Authority security official.
On Sunday, security forces detained Yousif Sharkawi near the Palestinian town Eizariya. Sharkawi retired from the PA security forces with the rank of general in 2006.
Pictures circulating on Twitter and Facebook show Border Police officers arresting Sharkawi as he was clad in a long black coat.
Sharkawi was detained for “organizing and participating in a protest last Friday near Rachel’s Tomb in which antisemitic posters were raised,” Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said on Thursday.
Last Friday, tens of Palestinians near Rachel’s Tomb took part in a protest against President Donald Trump’s decisions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and initiate the relocation of the US Embassy to the holy city.
A photo sent to The Jerusalem Post
by Rosenfeld shows Sharkawi participating in the protest with a number of other people, some of whom are holding a poster that features US President Donald Trump with a swastika over his face, beside the captions “Zionism=Nazism=Fascism” and “USA=ISIS= Terror.”
Muhammad Liham, a Fatah Revolutionary Council member who participated in the protest with Sharkawi, denied Rosenfeld’s comments by saying, “Sharkawi did not organize the protest. He only joined the protest as a participant.”
Liham also disputed Rosenfeld’s description of the poster as being antisemitic, saying it was meant “to remind Trump and Israel not to treat Palestinians like Jews were treated during the Holocaust.”
“We, in no way, meant to send a hateful message to Jews” Liham said.
According to a security source, the former PA security official, who is being accused of incitement to violence and partaking in an illegal protest, was released on bail on Thursday.
Israel rarely arrests active or former PA security personnel with whom it coordinates or has coordinated security in the West Bank.
A PA security official who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that Sharkawi has frequently participated in protests in the Bethlehem area since leaving the PA security forces in the mid-2000s.
“He’s a major critic of Israel and can be found at many protests against the occupation,” the official said. “But he also is a critic of the PA and often speaks about his frustration with the PA’s decision to continue to work with Israel, which partly explains why he retired from the security forces.”