IDF soldiers during activities in the West Bank.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)
The IDF has arrested a renowned Palestinian writer from Hebron who is known for her recurrent scathing attacks on the Palestinian Authority.
The woman, Lama Khater, 42 – who has more than 87,000 followers on Twitter – was arrested in her home on Tuesday in a predawn raid by IDF soldiers, Palestinian sources said. Photos of her hugging one of her children before being led away by the IDF have appeared on numerous social media sites in the past few hours.
In addition to her vehement criticism of the PA, Khater is also known for her harsh anti-Israel writings. Some Palestinians claim that she is affiliated with Hamas.
A senior PA security official in Ramallah dismissed the Hamas charge as baseless and nonsense. “We had nothing to do with her arrest,” the official told The Jerusalem Post.
Khater was one of 14 suspects arrested by the IDF for security related offenses overnight.
The IDF’s Spokesperson’s Unit told the Post that “a Palestinian woman was arrested overnight in Hebron on suspicion of taking part in Hamas activities. She was transferred to the Shin Bet internal security agency for questioning.”
Bassem al-Za’arir, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said he did not rule out the possibility that Khater’s arrest was the result of security coordination between the PA and Israel.
He claimed that another prominent Palestinian woman, Khaleda Jarrar, was also the victim of the alleged security coordination.
Jarrar, a senior official with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group, is being held in administrative detention in Israel. Like Khater, she too was known for her sharp criticism of the PA and its policies.
Za’arir pointed out that the PA security forces had previously arrested Khater’s husband, Hazem al-Fakhouri, in a bid to put pressure on her to halt her criticism of the PA. “We don’t rule out the possibility that there had been consultations between the Israeli and Palestinian security forces in order to get rid of her,” he told the Hamas-affiliated Al-Risalah website.
Another Hamas official, Musa Dudin, strongly condemned the IDF for arresting Khater. “This is a desperate and failed attempt to terrorize freedom of speech,” he charged. Khater was the fourth woman from Hebron who has been arrested by the IDF in the past month and a half, he said. The Hamas official also denounced the PA security forces for their continued security coordination with the IDF in the West Bank.
Khater’s last tweets were critical of Jewish visits to the Temple Mount
and the killing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.
In one tweet, she claimed that the al-Aqsa Mosque was close to being “fully Judaized.” Her recent tweets were also very critical of the PA security force’s ongoing crackdown on Palestinian university students in the West Bank. She has also condemned them for using excessive force to break up demonstrations calling for lifting the sanctions that the PA government imposed on the Gaza Strip more than a year ago.
Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.
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