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Palestinian Jerusalem governor said probed by Israel over ‘terrorism’

Attorney for Adnan Ghaith says it is the first time in a history of multiple arrests that his client has been investigated on terror-related offenses

Adnan Ghaith during a court appearance following his arrest in Jerusalem, November, 2018. (Mahmoud Illean/AP)
Illustrative: Adnan Ghaith during a court appearance following his arrest in Jerusalem, November, 2018. (Mahmoud Illean/AP)

Israel is investigating the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem over suspected terrorism, in the first such allegation against the often-arrested leader, his lawyer said Monday.

Adnan Ghaith has been arrested by Israeli security forces more than 10 times over the past two years, but typically over the minor offense of engaging in “illegal” political activities in the disputed city.

He has generally been released within a day or two.

But Ghaith’s lawyer Mohammed Mahmoud told AFP that in addition to political offenses the governor was being probed over “planning an act of terrorism,” and not expected to be released soon.

Ghaith’s remand was extended by seven days, according to Palestinian sources. He was arrested Sunday at his home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, the Palestinian Wafa news agency reported.

Video of the arrest was shared on social media.

Under Israeli law, a broad range of offenses fall under the terrorism umbrella, and the probe does not necessarily mean Ghaith is suspected of plotting an act of violence. Israeli law also prohibits the Palestinian Authority from carrying out political activities in Jerusalem.

It was the first time Ghaith was the subject of a terrorism investigation and Israel’s powerful domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, was involved in the case, Mahmoud said.

Palestinian Authority 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.

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