This Hanukkah Give the Gift of Truth

The Media Line led twenty years ago in pioneering the American independent news agency in the Middle East, arguably the first in the region. We have always stayed true to our mission: to provide you with contextual sourced and trustworthy news. In an age of fake news masquerading as journalism, The Media Line plays a crucial role in providing fact-based news that deserves your support.

We're proud of the dozens of young students we've trained in our Press and Policy Student Program who will form the vanguard of the next generation of journalists to the benefit of countless millions of news readers.

Non-profit news needs public support. Please support us with your generous contributions:
We thank our loyal readers and wish you all the happiest of holidays
The Media Line
Issues Of Sovereignty & Land Sales Hover Over East Jerusalem Arrests
Israeli security forces are seen as an excavator demolishes shops belonging to Palestinians near the Shuafat refugee camp in east Jerusalem, which Israel claims were built without permits, earlier this month. (Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Issues Of Sovereignty & Land Sales Hover Over East Jerusalem Arrests

Israel has arrested 32 east Jerusalem residents it suspects of illegally carrying out activities on behalf of the Palestinian Authority

Israeli police arrested 32 east Jerusalem residents on Monday, claiming they carried out activities on behalf of the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA). If proven true, their activities would violate the ’90s-era Oslo Accords prohibiting PA personnel from operating within Israel.

Just a day earlier, Israeli police arrested the PA governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith for money-related offenses, according to Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency. The police had already detained Ghaith last month for conducting “illegal activity” under PA auspices in Jerusalem.

Following the arrests, the police issued a statement claiming the suspects were Israeli residents who either serve in or support the PA’s security forces. It added that raids on their homes uncovered weapons, ammunition, large sums of shekels, as well as PA uniforms and documents. The suspects appeared in a Jerusalem court for a preliminary hearing on Monday.

“The arrests were by and large the Israeli response to the PA’s arrest of an Arab landowner in east Jerusalem,” Dr. Ido Zelkovitz, a Policy Fellow at the Mitvim Institute and head of Middle East Studies at Yezreel Valley College, told The Media Line.

Zelkovitz was referring to Esam Aqel, a U.S. citizen from east Jerusalem, whom the PA arrested on suspicion he sold Arab-owned property in the Old City to an Israeli-Jewish organization.

“But what the Israeli government wants to do is take advantage of this specific event and to show its strength and claim of sovereignty over east Jerusalem. It also wants to deliver a message to the PA that if the latter arrests people with an Israeli citizenship or a blue ID card [issued to Jerusalem residents], it will in turn arrest Palestinians who also live in east Jerusalem,” Zelkovitz said.

“The issue of selling land and creating Jewish pockets in east Jerusalem is a very sensitive issue from a Palestinian perspective. The city is at the center of mistrust and tension between Israel and the Palestinians,” he added.

“We will likely see this struggle continue in the future because if the PA wants to launch a popular resistance campaign against Israel, east Jerusalem is the best place from which to do so. The PA does not have direct responsibility for running everyday life in the city, making it easier for it to concentrate its efforts there. It is also a religious symbol and the center of Palestinian national aspirations.”

This is why Israel has been paying a lot of attention to PA activities in the eastern half of the city, Zelkovitz explained, but concluded that this “atmosphere of tension, at the end of the day, could heighten violence and work against both sides in favor of Hamas.”

Ziad abu-Ziad, Fatah’s international media spokesperson, told The Media Line that “Israel’s actions are illegal; it is launching a war on the Palestinian leadership in east Jerusalem despite the fact that the U.N. General Assembly and international law recognizes the area as the capital of the Palestinian state.”

The Orient House, which was the headquarters of the PLO in east Jerusalem, was opened after the Oslo Accords, and there have always been PLO activists in the area, he explained.

“But Israeli authorities, in a hostile action, made a decision to prevent any kind of Palestinian leadership from emerging in east Jerusalem, as well as to destroy its social fabric and prevent any kind of political activism. These policies are simply part of an apartheid system,” abu-Ziad added.

Commenting on the land sale issue, abu-Ziad concluded that “there are extreme right-wing Israeli organizations, supported by the Israeli government, that are using the bad social and economic situation in the city to push Palestinians into selling their properties to Israeli organizations that turn them into settlements.”

Israel captured and annexed east Jerusalem following the Six Day War in 1967, a move the international community has not recognized. Sovereignty over the city has remained a major bone of contention in peace talks.

Last May, U.S. President Donald Trump made good on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital by moving the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv. His position on east Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state remains to be seen.

Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
Felice Friedson
Founder, President

Invest in the
Trusted Mideast
News source.
We are on the
front lines.

Personalize Your News
Upgrade your experience by choosing the categories that matter most to you.
Click on the icon to add the category to your Personalize news
Browse Categories and Topics
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.
Wake up to the Trusted Mideast News source Mideast Daily News Email
By subscribing, you agree to The Media Line terms of use and privacy policy.