Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas attends the meeting of the Palestinian Central Council, in Ramallah, in the West Bank August 15, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS/MOHAMAD TOROKMAN)
For the second time in the past month, the Israel Police arrested the Palestinian Authority Governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Geith, and the Jerusalem Magistrates Court ordered him remanded into custody for five days.
Geith, a resident of the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan who holds an Israeli identification card, was arrested by the police in his home early Sunday. Geith, a prominent Fatah official, was appointed last August by PA President Mahmoud Abbas as PA Governor of Jerusalem.
His arrest comes in the context of Israel’s effort to prevent the PA from carrying out political and security-related activities within the area of Israel, including east Jerusalem. A 1995 law passed by the Knesset bans the PA from carrying out such activities within the area of Israel.
Palestinian sources said on Sunday that Geith's arrest was apparently linked to the PA's crackdown on east Jerusalem residents suspected of involvement in real estate transactions with Israeli Jews.
Last month, The Jerusalem Post
revealed that the PA security forces had arrested a US citizen from east Jerusalem on suspicion he was involved in the sale of a house in the Old City to an Israeli Jewish organization. The man's family has notified the US State Department of the arrest.
After the report, the Israel Police arrested Geith for four days on suspicion he was involved in the arrest of the US citizen. The commander of the PA General Intelligence Service in the Jerusalem area, Jihad Faqeeh, was arrested by the IDF, also for his role in the case.
On Sunday, the Post
, quoting Israeli security sources, said that Israeli authorities have stepped up their measures against PA officials who were operating in east Jerusalem in violation of the law.
Last week, Geith was served with an IDF order banning him from meeting with or contacting a number of Palestinian officials and activists. The move came after another order that banned him from entering the West Bank for six months.
Also last week, the Israel Police summoned PA Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Adnan Husseini, and handed him an order prohibiting him from leaving the country for six months. Husseini, who is also a resident of east Jerusalem, was requested to deposit his passport wit the police.
In recent weeks, the PA and its security forcers have been waging a campaign against east Jerusalem residents suspected of involvement in the sale of houses to Israeli Jews. The PA government has formed a commission of inquiry into the recent sale of a house belonging to the Joudeh family in the Old City's Muslim Quarter to an Israeli Jewish organization. The Palestinian religious authorities in the city have also renewed a fatwa (Islamic religious decree) prohibiting the sale of Arab-owned properties to Israeli Jews.
The PA mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammed Hussein, on Sunday condemned the arrest of Geith and the measures taken against PA officials in the city as "unfair." The Israeli measures, he said, are a "flagrant violation of international and humanitarian laws."
The Fatah Revolutionary Council, of which Geith is a member, also issued a strong condemnation over his arrest and appealed to the international community to denounce the Israeli measures.
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