Israel bars an iftar and detains three amid claims Hamas financed it

Two hours before the meal was to begin at an east Jerusalem hotel, Israeli police arrived and prevented it from taking place.

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JERUSALEM // Israeli police barred an iftar meal which was to take place at an east Jerusalem hotel on grounds it had been organised by Hamas, a Palestinian activist said yesterday.

According to Fakhri Abu Diab, a group called the Silwan Charity Foundation was preparing for a large iftar at the Panorama Hotel in Ras Al Amud on the Mount of Olives.

However, two hours before the meal was to begin "Israeli police came and prevented it from taking place on the grounds that the foundation is financed by Islamic movements, including Hamas", said Abu Diab, an activist in the flashpoint neighbourhood of Silwan.

"Police closed the hotel, called off the meal and arrested ... board members of the Silwan Charity Foundation," he said, adding the meal was eventually held elsewhere.

The Israel police spokeswoman, Luba Samri, said: "The meal was prevented in accordance with item six of the anti-terror decree, and three of its organisers were arrested, including director of the Panorama Hotel."

Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza, during the 1967 Six-Day War and considers all of the city its "eternal, undivided" capital.

It is quick to close down any Palestinian activity in the sector which could be considered as political. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem as the capital of their promised state, and furiously denounce any Israeli attempt to extend control over the sector.