Palestinian prisoners wait to be released from Ketziot prison, southern Israel, October 1, 2007.
(photo credit: RONEN ZVULUN / REUTERS)
The Palestinian Authority does not rule out the possibility that Israel will storm the prison where an American-Palestinian is being held on suspicion of involvement in a real estate transaction with Israeli Jews, Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security forces, said on Saturday.
The Jerusalem Post revealed that the man, Issam Akel, a resident of east Jerusalem with US citizenship, was arrested by the PA security forces two months ago. He is suspected of acting as a solicitor in the sale of a house in the Old City of Jerusalem to an Israeli Jewish organization.
Last week, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman
called for the release of Akel.
“The Palestinian Authority has been holding US citizen Issam Akel in prison for two months,” Friedman said on Twitter. “His suspected ‘crime?’ Selling land to a Jew. Akel’s incarceration is antithetical to the values of the US and to all who advocate the cause of peaceful coexistence. We demand his immediate release.”
Damiri said in an interview with the Palestine News Network that he would not be surprised if Israel stormed the prison where the US citizen is being held in order to release him. “Storming Palestinian police stations or obstructing the work of our security forces is not a new practice on the part of Israel,” he added.
Damiri pointed out that Israel has halted security coordination with the PA in the Jerusalem area after the arrest of Akel. The PA and all its institutions, he said, consider the sale of land to Israeli Jews “high treason” and will continue to prosecute those involved in such transactions.
The PA has a number of police stations in West Bank villages located outside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem.
The PA spokesman said that the Palestinian leadership and President Mahmoud Abbas have been facing US pressure because of their opposition to US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-announced plan for peace in the Middle East, which is also known as the “deal of the century.”
An Israeli law passed in 1995 bans the PA from carrying out political and security-related activities within the area of Israel, including east Jerusalem. However, Israeli security sources say the PA and its security forces have repeatedly violated the law.
The arrest of the US citizen has prompted the Israel Police to step up their measures against PA representatives in Jerusalem.
Last week, the PA Magistrates Court in Ramallah ordered Akel remanded into custody for a further 45 days.
Last week, the police arrested the PA “governor” of Jerusalem, Adnan Geith, on suspicion of carrying out illegal activities in the city. The police also arrested 32 east Jerusalem residents on suspicion of working in the PA security forces. As residents of east Jerusalem, Geith and the 32 suspects hold Israeli ID cards.
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