Palestinian governor of Jerusalem rearrested by Israeli police

Adnan Geith has been scooped up several times in recent months in connection with a land sale investigation

Palestinian Authority Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith. (Screenshot: YouTube)
Palestinian Authority Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith. (Screenshot: YouTube)

Israeli police arrested the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem on Sunday, after he allegedly violated an order previously given to him by authorities, police and his lawyer said.

The governor, Adnan Gheith, has been arrested several times in recent months in connection with an investigation related to a land sale.

His lawyer Mohammed Mahmud said he had been given a six-month order not to visit the West Bank or contact certain people there, and police accused him of violating the order.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld confirmed that Gheith had been arrested and was being questioned, but could not provide further details.

Official Palestinian news agency Wafa said he was released later Sunday and given a NIS 1,000 fine ($280).

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 late last August.

In his role, Ghaith is responsible for overseeing PA activity in the neighborhoods within its jurisdiction, on the edges and outside of Jerusalem.

Police had previously investigated Gheith over suspicions he was involved in the Palestinian Authority’s arrest last October of American-Palestinian Issam Akel, who was accused of involvement in selling an East Jerusalem building to Jewish buyers.

Such sales are considered treasonous among Palestinians concerned with Israeli settlers buying property in East Jerusalem.

Israel seldom arrests high-ranking PA officials. However, Israeli security forces have arrested Ghaith many times in the past several years, including on suspicion of incitement, his brother Hani said.

Palestinian officials have condemned his arrests and claimed it was intended to pressure the Palestinian leadership over Akel’s case.

Akel was sentenced to life by a Palestinian court, but he was reportedly later allowed to leave to the United States.

PA activities are barred from Jerusalem by Israel. As a result, the PA has a minister for Jerusalem affairs and a Jerusalem governor located in Al-Ram, just on the other side of Israel’s security barrier.

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