Israel arrests Palestinian Jerusalem governor again

No details released of the charges against Adnan Ghaith, who was also detained in October

Children roll tires as they run along the Israeli barrier in the East Jerusalem refugee camp of Shuafat January 3, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Israeli police have arrested the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem for the second time in as many months, in a move seen as a pressure tactic to obtain the release of a man detained by Palestinian authorities for selling property in East Jerusalem to Jewish buyers.

Police said Adnan Ghaith was arrested in East Jerusalem overnight, without providing further details. Israeli security forces would not comment beyond saying the arrest had to do with money-related issues.

Mr Ghaith was to appear for a remand hearing in the Jerusalem magistrate's court later on Sunday, when details of the allegations against him might be released.

Mr Ghaith was detained on October 20 for two days of questioning before being released. Israel's Shin Bet domestic security agency said it was over "illegal activity by the [Palestinian Authority] in Jerusalem". The head of Palestinian intelligence in the city, Col Jihad Faqeeh, was arrested on the same day.

Mr Ghaith was also taken for questioning a number of times in recent weeks and his office was raided on November 4.


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Palestinian Authority activities are barred from Jerusalem by Israel. As a result, the PA has a minister for Jerusalem affairs and a Jerusalem governor located in Al Ram, just on the other side of Israel's separation wall from Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli media have reported that authorities have been investigating the governor following the PA's arrest of a man in October accused of being involved in selling property in East Jerusalem to a Jewish buyer.

Palestinians consider such sales treasonous amid concerns about Israeli settlers buying property in East Jerusalem, which they see as the capital of their future state. The Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem issued a decree in April that banned Palestinian from selling their property to Israelis because this would enable the eventual eviction of Muslims from their homes in the city.

But among Israelis, there have been calls for authorities to free the man arrested by the PA.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the man is a Palestinian with US citizenship.

Fuad Hallaq, a senior adviser to the Palestine Liberation Organisation in Jerusalem, said he believed the latest arrest was part of Israeli efforts to pressure the Palestinian leadership to release the man.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community. It considers the entire city its capital.