Israel detained the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem on Sunday over “illegal” activities, at least the seventh time Adnan Ghaith has been arrested in less than 18 months.
“Adnan Ghaith was detained this morning for Palestinian activity in Jerusalem, which is illegal,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.
Israel seldom arrests high-ranking Palestinian Authority officials. However, Israeli security forces have arrested Ghaith many times in the past several years, including on suspicion of incitement.
A video circulating on social media showed Ghaith, wearing rubber gloves and smoking a cigarette, being escorted by police out of his East Jerusalem home.
Tension in East Jerusalem, #Israel arrested Palestinian governor Adnan Ghaith, accusing him of legal activity — though no one willing to say what. Last night, #Israeli media reported that Israeli authorities are considering locking down some neighborhoods to contain #coronavirus https://t.co/IgWrq8yl1E
— Ruth Marks Eglash (@reglash) April 5, 2020
PA President Mahmoud Abbas appointed Ghaith, a resident of Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood and a longtime Fatah activist, to the role of PA Jerusalem governor in August 2018. In his role, Ghaith is responsible for overseeing PA activity in the neighborhoods within its jurisdiction on the edges and outside of Jerusalem.
His attorney Rami Othman said Ghaith, who was taken for questioning, was apprehended primarily due to Palestinian activity related to the coronavirus outbreak.
Israeli law prohibits the Palestinian Authority from carrying out political activities in Jerusalem.
Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it. Most of the international community has never recognized the annexation, though US President Donald Trump’s administration became the first to do so in 2017.
The Israeli government sees all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.