Israeli security forces raid PA offices outside Jerusalem, sparking clashes

Israeli security forces attempt to confiscate computer equipment, according to official PA news site

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

A picture taken from the Mount of Olives shows the Old City of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock shrine in the center, on December 6, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)
A picture taken from the Mount of Olives shows the Old City of Jerusalem with the Dome of the Rock shrine in the center, on December 6, 2017. (AFP Photo/Ahmad Gharabli)

Israeli security forces raided the Palestinian Authority’s Jerusalem Governorate headquarters and Jerusalem Affairs Ministry on Sunday, the official PA news site Wafa reported.

Spokespersons for the IDF and Israel Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Pictures shared on Twitter showed Israeli security forces at the entrance to the PA Jerusalem Governorate headquarters and Jerusalem Affairs Ministry, which share a building in al-Ram, a town on the northern outskirts of Jerusalem.

“Occupation forces…raided [the building] in a barbaric manner in an attempt to confiscate its contents,” the Wafa report said.

Other pictures posted on Twitter showed PA Jerusalem Affairs Minister Adnan Husseini standing next to desktop computers which appeared to be missing some parts.

Wafa also reported that Israeli security forces and PA employees engaged in a fistfight after the troops “attempted to confiscate the building’s contents.”

At least five PA employees were injured and taken to a hospital for treatment, the official PA news site report said.

A PA government spokesman slammed the Israeli forces for raiding the building.

“The raid on the Jerusalem Affairs Ministry and Jerusalem Governorate and the savage assault of the employees in it is a dangerous escalation and barefaced violation of all agreements and international laws,” PA government spokesman Yousif Mahmoud said in a statement published on Wafa. “The occupation government bears full responsibility for the continued assaults on Jerusalem and its citizens, Islamic and Christian holy sites and institutions.”

In late October, Israeli security forces arrested PA Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith and Jerusalem director of the PA General Intelligence Services Jihad Faqih on suspicion they helped abduct a Palestinian-American resident of Jerusalem, their lawyers told Reuters at the time. Both Ghaith and Faqih deny the charges, according to their lawyers.

They were released several days after being arrested.

The Palestinian-American resident of Jerusalem was being sought by the PA over his involvement in the sale of a home in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City to Jews, Hadashot TV news reported in October.

PA courts have previously sentenced Palestinians to death for selling land to Jews. Since 2005, however, the PA has not carried out any executions, according to B’Tselem.

The PA government formed a committee to investigate the sale of the home in the Old City, PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah tweeted on October 9.

Last Thursday, Israeli security forces also briefly detained Ghaith after they forcibly broke up an event he attended in East Jerusalem, which Israel’s Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan said was organized by the PA.

Israel, which annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally, almost entirely does not allow the PA to operate within Jerusalem.

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