Jerusalem Police Arrest Sheikh Jarrah Activist

Michael Solsberry detained after protestors reach disputed homes for first time.

Jerusalem police arrested Michael Solsberry, one of the key activists in the ongoing protests in Sheikh Jarrah, at his home in Pisgat Ze'ev on Friday evening.

For more than a year and a half, activists have organized protests against the takeover of Palestinian homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood by groups of settlers.

On Friday, demonstrators were for the first time able to reach the disputed homes. Until then, protests were limited to a nearby public park because of the refusal of police to allow demonstrators to approach the homes.

A handful of demonstrators protested earlier Friday outside the controversial Shepherd Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah. The Jerusalem municipality gave final approval this week to a settler group for the construction of 20 apartments next to the hotel, a decision that added to recent tensions between Israel and the United States.

The demonstrators moved on from the hotel to the disputed homes in the same neighborhood, apparently without the police noticing them.

The arrest of Solsberry on Friday evening appears connected to the demonstrations earlier in the day. Solsberry was arrested at the home of his parents where he lives.

Lawyer Leah Tsemel, who accompanies the demonstrators, went to the police station and was told that Solsberry had been detained for disorderly behavior.

Around 100 activists have been arrested during protests in Sheikh Jarrah. Most were released by judges who criticized the police conduct.