Palestinians in Ramallah, in the West Bank, protest Israel's decision to close a Palestinian school in East Jerusalem and Palestine TV in the city, November 21. (Hazem Shamlawi)

PA Official Arrested Again in East Jerusalem

Israeli security forces arrested the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem on Thursday at his home in the Silwan neighborhood, in the city’s east.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told The Media Line that Adnan Ghaith’s latest apprehension was over “Palestinian activity in Jerusalem.”

“He was arrested on suspicion of connection with Palestinians working around Jerusalem conducting illegal activity. It is not allowed in Jerusalem to hold activities connected to the Palestinian Authority.”

Ghaith was detained six times this year. Israel claims that his activities in the city undermine its authority. Rosenfeld accuses him of working on behalf of the Palestinian Authority.

“In Jerusalem, whether it’s setting up conferences or support [for] or connection with any terrorist organization, it is not permitted. It’s something that the minister of public security decided we would deal with and prevent from taking place in Jerusalem,” Rosenfeld said.

When asked which “terrorist organization” he’s was referring to, Rosenfield declined to elaborate.

Adnan Al-Husayni, a member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told The Media Line that Israel is responding aggressively to Palestinian Authority officials, preventing them from holding any activities.

“This is certainly a systematic campaign and we do not understand its cause. There is nothing we can say that will explain these steps. It is a floundering, a kind of chaos … an attempt at domination in an outdated and anomalous way.”

On Tuesday, Israeli police raided a production company that works with Palestine TV – based in Ramallah, West Bank — and an office of the Palestinian Education Ministry was ordered to close for six months.

“I don’t understand the logic of closing a school or a health center that provides services to Palestinian Jerusalemites who do not have insurance,” Husayni said. “Why is Palestine TV closed in Jerusalem? There are so many TV and international news agencies operating here. Why this racism?”

Israel’s public security minister, Gilad Erdan, confirmed the closure of offices used by Palestine TV and the Education Ministry, accusing Palestine TV of producing anti-Israel content.

Palestinian officials vehemently deny the minister’s assertion.

Palestinians accuse Israel of taking steps to assert its control over East Jerusalem.

Ziad Abu Zayyad, a former PA official, told The Media Line that these steps by the Israeli government are politically motivated.

The Likud and the Israeli Right are campaigning at the expense of East Jerusalem and Palestinian Jerusalemites. All actions taken by Israel in Jerusalem are contrary to the Oslo Accords and other understandings agreed upon by the PLO and Israel.”

Abu Zayyad argues that arresting Palestinian officials from Jerusalem and preventing them from holding events goes against signed accords.

“The Israeli Right, led by [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu, evades all agreements signed between the PLO and Israel. The institutions are affiliated with the PLO and there is an agreement between Israel and the PLO that the Palestinian Authority does not operate in Jerusalem, but the PLO has offices and activities in Jerusalem,” said Abu Zayyad. “What is happening now is against the PLO and against the Palestinian people. This is completely contrary to the agreement and to the hopes that were built on that agreement.”

Abu Zayyad said the PA should cease holding its commitments if Israel doesn’t hold its side of the bargain.

“We should not be implementing anymore if Israel wants to only implement what is in its interest. This agreement is a comprehensive deal.” He went on to say that the coveted and highly controversial security coordination should be put on the table for discussion.

“What does Israel offer in return? Why is Palestine committed to certain things that serve Israel’s interests while the latter refuses to fulfil its own obligations?”

Gonen Ben-Yitzhak, a former Shin Bet operative, agrees. He told the Media Line that “Israel is trying all the time to give the impression that Jerusalem is united.” However, “as we all know, Jerusalem is not really united; there is the eastern part of the city and the western part of the city.”

He also said that these moves are not beneficial to either side.

“The Palestinian government in Ramallah is cooperating with Israel on security issues. … What is behind this decision is Israeli politics and the fact that Netanyahu’s government now is under pressure to strengthen its connection with the far-Right.

Both Al-Husayni and Abu Zayyad say the US administration’s decisions provide Israel the cover it needs to eliminate any Palestinians activities in the city.

“All current US policy toward the Palestinians in Jerusalem is inconsistent with previous US policy,” said Abu Zayyad, referring to the latest White House decision on Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which the Trump Administration no longer considers illegal.

“The current US administration is more right-wing, more radical and more Zionist than the Israelis themselves. The American ambassador to Israel is an ambassador of Israel and the settlers, not of America,” said Abu Zayyad.

Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 war and considers the entire city its undivided capital

The Palestinians consider the eastern part of the city the capital of their own future state.

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