Former PA minister arrested in e. J'lem

Cops nab Abdel Kader during scuffle between Jews, Arabs over abandoned Sheikh Jarrah house.

Hatem Abdel Kader arrest 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
Hatem Abdel Kader arrest 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Seven people were arrested Sunday afternoon in east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood after several Jews came to renovate a building they own according to a court order, Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said. Several dozen left-wing activists and Arab residents arrived to prevent the renovation, and a scuffle broke out. The seven detainees included people from both sides. One of them was Hatem Abdel Kader, a former minister for Jerusalem affairs in the Palestinian Authority government. Abdel Kader resigned his post earlier this month, but remains in charge of Jerusalem affairs within Fatah. The house involved is the subject of a legal dispute in which the Jewish claimants have been granted the right to enter the premises, said Sharon Casper, an activist with Rabbis for Human Rights, a group which opposes the demolition of illegal Arab homes. She said that all except for two of the people detained were foreign nationals, and that police are threatening to deport them. The Palestinian demonstrators said the Jews had arrived in the neighborhood with the intention of taking over buildings. An Israeli who works nearby told The Jerusalem Post that later in the afternoon, several Border Police cars had been outside the disputed building. The Jews had entered the house through a hole in a wall and been moving furniture around, he said. According to an Arab child who lives in the neighborhood and spoke to the Israeli man, an old woman lived in the house until she passed away several years ago, and the property has been empty since. When the Jews entered the house Sunday, there were no residents inside, he said. The Post could not verify the legal status of the property. The scuffle ended quickly, and no one was wounded, the Israeli said. The clash came days after news that the Jerusalem Municipality had approved plans for the construction of 20 apartments in two new buildings at a defunct hotel in the neighborhood. The abandoned site, which was purchased a quarter century ago by Irving Moskowitz, an American millionaire who is an active funder of Jewish housing projects in east Jerusalem, was once the residence of Haj Amin al-Husseini, the pro-Nazi mufti of Jerusalem. More than a dozen small Jewish enclaves exist or are under construction in or near Arab neighborhoods in east Jerusalem, where some 1,000 Jewish residents now live.