Israel shutters PA-backed conference in East Jerusalem, top businessman arrested

Minister Erdan says event organized by Palestinian Mufti, also attended by Turks, promoted 'incitement' against Israel

Munib Al-Masri at his home, Beit Falasteen, overlooking Nablus, April 8, 2014 (photo credit: Suha Halifa/Times of Israel)

A conference in East Jerusalem sponsored by the Palestinian Authority and attended by members of the Islamic Movement in Israel and of the Turkish Waqf was shut down and raided by police on Saturday by order of Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan, whose office said the event promoted “incitement” against the state of Israel.

Police also briefly arrested Munib al-Masri, a powerful Palestinian businessman who funded the conference.

The event, which took place at the Hind al-Husseini College in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, was organized by the Mufti of Jerusalem, Akrama Sabri. According to police, Sabri, who was recently issued a travel ban by Israel, previously held several events alongside members of the Hamas terrorist movement, the Ynet news site reported.

The Ministry of Public Security said the conference was deliberately scheduled to take place on the anniversary of a terror attack at the Temple Mount last year, in which Israeli police officers Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan were killed by three Arab Israeli gunmen who had stashed their weapons on the Mount.

Israeli minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan. (Basel Awidat/Flash90)

Shuttering the conference, Erdan accused the Palestinian Authority of “repeatedly attempting to undermine Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem.”

He said Israel would “continue to fight and prevent any attempt to fan [the flames of] violence in the city.”

Erdan said the event was “a conference of incitement” and charged that “the connection between the Islamic Movement, the Palestinian Authority and Turkish elements is a brazen attempt to encourage violence on the anniversary of the attack on the Temple Mount.”

Medics treat victims of a shooting attack on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City on July 14, 2017. (Magen David Adom)

The terror attack last July 14 sparked weeks of tension in Jerusalem. Israel introduced new security measures, including metal detector gates, designed to prevent weapons being brought onto the Mount — a move which prompted widespread protests and was ultimately reversed.

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