Israeli security forces detained the Palestinian Authority’s minister for Jerusalem affairs, Fadi al-Hadami, following an early morning raid on his home in East Jerusalem, the official PA news site Wafa reported Sunday.
Security forces searched the premises and confiscated Hamadi’s cellphone.
A spokesperson for the PA condemned the arrest and said that it was intended to put pressure on the PA and keep track of its activities amid a volatile situation in East Jerusalem, the Kan public broadcaster reported.
Israel has detained the previous PA Jerusalem minister on several occasions, as well as the PA’s governor of Jerusalem.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) June 30, 2019
Hebrew-language media reported that Hadami was arrested over PA actions in the capital, with Channel 13 TV news saying it was related to a visit last week to the Temple Mount by Chilean President Sebastian Pinera who was accompanied by Hadami and other Palestinian officials, angering Israeli authorities.
Pinera’s visit to the site on Tuesday was protested by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which said the presence of Palestinian officials undermined Israel’s sovereignty over the eastern part of Jerusalem. The Chilean leader apologized the next day to President Reuven Rivlin for the tour on the site.
According to the Foreign Ministry, the two countries had agreed beforehand that Pinera would not be accompanied by any Palestinian officials.
Hadami’s arrest came following a weekend of violent protests in East Jerusalem after last Thursday security forces shot dead a Palestinian man who police said launched fireworks at them from close range, endangering their lives.
Much of the unrest was centered around the Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, which has seen nightly fighting since last week, and the nearby Shuafat neighborhood and refugee camp of the same name.
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.