Israel Detains Palestinian Minister Who Planned to Take Part in East Jerusalem Event

Several officials were released after questioning while another was briefly detained at checkpoint as police say they intended to violate law barring PA from sponsoring events in E. J'lem

Al Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem, 2018.
Mahmoud Illean/AP

Israel detained two senior Palestinian officials who planned to participate in an event in East Jerusalem on Wednesday, releasing both after they were questioned.

Israel Police cited a law passed as part of the Oslo peace process which bars the Palestinian Authority from holding or sponsoring events in Jerusalem as the reason behind the arrests.

Police raided the homes of Jerusalem affairs minister Fadi al-Hadmi and Adnan Gheit, the PA-appointed governor of Jerusalem, on Wednesday morning. Al-Hamadi was arrested and Gheit, who was not at home, was summoned for questioning.

Ahma Majdalani, the Palestinian minister for social development, was meanwhile detained at a checkpoint at the entrance to Jerusalem and was warned not to enter the city or get arrested.

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Palestinian sources said the detainments were meant to prevent the officials from participating in an event at Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem.

Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, condemned the arrests, calling them illegal and part of systematic persecution of Palestinians on the part of Israel.

In January, police raided an event marking the 50th anniversary of the hospital's establishment, fulfilling an order signed by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan, who said the event was sponsored by the Palestinian Authority.

Over the past few years, police have raided press conferences, book launches, children's festivals, and other events. Last month police broke up a soccer tournament among families, with Erdan claiming it was "held on behalf of and/or is sponsored and funded by the Palestinian Authority."

Police said it had detained two suspects and that an investigating was ongoing and would continue.