Israel Arrests 15 in East Jerusalem for Conducting Polls on Palestinian Authority's Behalf

Overnight raids part of Israel policy barring Palestinian Authority activities in East Jerusalem

FILE PHOTO: An Israeli policeman removes a Palestinian flag stuck on a wall as Palestinians demonstrate outside the British Consulate in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem November 2, 2017.
AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS

Fifteen Palestinians were arrested in an overnight raid  in East Jerusalem on Tuesday for allegedly conducting polls on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. Their arrests are part of the Israeli police's policy of preventing any activities linked to the Palestinian Authority from taking place in the Palestinian side of the city.

According to Mohammad Mohammd, the lawyer representing those arrested, six of them will likely be set free in coming hours. He said the arrests were part of Israel's attempt to deter Palestinians.

Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, a move not recognized internationally. While Israel regards the east of the city as part of Israel, the estimated 300,000 Palestinians that live there do not. They are not Israeli citizens, instead holding Israeli-issued blue IDs that grant them permanent resident status.

As part of Israel's policy of blocking PA activity in East Jerusalem, every few weeks, Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan signs an injunction shuttering an event suspected of links with the Palestinian Authority. As of today, among the events canceled by Israel were: book launches, press conferences and even a children's' festival.

"Israel's grotesque attempt to ignore the connection the residetns of East Jerusalem feel to the Palestinian people and their need to establish Palestinian leadership in the city will not lead to any solution," said Oshrat Maymon, the policy director for Ir Amim, an NGO active in the Palestinian side of the city.

Meanwhile, clashes broke out on Monday between Israeli officers and residents of Silwan. During the clashes, a 17-year-old Palestinian was hit with pepper spray by an Israeli guard and was taken to a local hospital; the teen's father was arrested.