Israel Detains PA Minister, Seeks to Arrest Governor
Campaign seen targeting senior Palestinian officials and other leaders
For the second time in three months, Israeli security forces have arrested the Palestinian Authority’s minister for Jerusalem affairs, Fadi al-Hadmi. The arrest came on September 25 during an early-morning raid at Hadmi’s home in East Jerusalem.
Shortly before, Israeli police raided the home of the PA’s governor for Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, to deliver a writ of summons.
“A force of the Israeli police and intelligence services barged into my home while I was visiting my father in the hospital,” Ghaith told The Media Line. “An hour later or in conjunction, they arrested Hadmi.”
Ghaith said Wednesday’s escalation was nothing new and came as part of what he called Israel’s “barbarian” treatment of Palestinians in the city.
“Due to Israeli laws, our activities in Jerusalem are considered as interfering with Israeli sovereignty there, which violates all international understandings and resolutions regarding Jerusalem,” he said.
He added, however, that in his view, Israel normally doesn’t wait for justifications for such actions, especially in the city.
“Israel won’t allow any [official] Palestinian presence in Jerusalem, and we [the PA] represent the Palestinians there,” he said.
Mickey Rosenfeld, foreign media spokesman for the Israel Police, confirmed to The Media Line that Hadmi was in police custody for questioning about his activities.
Mahmoud Majdalani, the PA’s minister of social affairs, told The Media Line that Israel was targeting him as well, calling it an effort at “ethnic cleansing” and “imposing a fait accompli” that Jerusalem is Israeli.
“Well, we say no to that,” Majdalani said.
He added that Israel did not want him to visit Palestinian hospitals or other Palestinian bodies in the city.
“We are practicing our duties toward our people in Jerusalem, as in any other Palestinian city,” he stated.
Ibrahim Melhem, spokesperson for the PA government, stressed to The Media Line that targeting Palestinian leaders and top officials reflected Israel’s “miserable policy” in Jerusalem and its failure at “Judaizing” the city.
“The arrests of Palestinian national symbols is an attempt to make the Palestinian people in Jerusalem kneel in subjugation and to spread frustration among their ranks – although it will only increase their strength and determination to stay in their holy city,” Melhem opined.
Despite all Israeli attempts to “Judaize” Jerusalem, he said, “it will always remain an Arab city in its heart and face.”
The timing of the arrests coincides with the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, which, according to Melhem, “should provide a live example of how Israel as an occupying power deals with Palestinian leaders.”
The Israeli government has stepped up its actions against Palestinian activities in Jerusalem since US President Donald Trump recognized the city as Israel’s capital at the end of 2017.
Following the US administration’s decision, Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion led a campaign to end operations in the city by the United Nations Relief Works Agency, the UN arm charged with providing services and funding for Palestinian refugees.