Palestinian sources said the latest crackdown came after Israeli authorities issued orders banning more than 20 east Jerusalem residents from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
Israeli security forces on Monday detained 25 activists belonging to the Palestinian ruling Fatah faction in Jerusalem on suspicion of carrying out activities on behalf of the PA and its security forces in the city.
The activists are suspected of acting in violation of the Law for the Implementation of the Agreement on the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area – Restriction on Activity – 1994, which prohibits the Palestinian Authority from carrying out political, governmental or similar activity within the area of the State of Israel, including east Jerusalem.
Palestinian sources said the latest crackdown came after Israeli authorities issued orders banning more than 20 east Jerusalem residents from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound (Temple Mount). Last week, the authorities extended an order banning former Palestinian mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Ekrima Sabri from entering the compound for another four months.
The sources identified the Fatah activists detained on Monday morning as Mohammed al-Shibel, Ahmad Khweis, Talal al-Sayyad, Eyad al-Hidreh, Khaled Abu Ghannam, Muaz al-Ashhab, Amjad Abu Asab, Jihad Oweida, Ehab Abu Sbeitan, Ahmad Arafat, Nidal Afaneh, Fardi al-Basti, Samer Shanak, Hazem Ghrabaleh, Mazen Bader, Wassim al-Risheq, Fawzi Sha’ban, Tawfik Abu Sbeitan, Ahmad Khway, Naji Abu Juma’ah, Rania al-Ashhab, Zuheir Eid, Ashraf Obeif, Ahmad Mustafa, and Mahmoud a-Sayyad.
Fatah officials condemned the detention of the east Jerusalem activists and claimed the move was aimed at “punishing” the Palestinians because of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s May 19 decision to renounce all agreements and understandings with Israel, including security cooperation.
“The arrests are in the context of Israel’s effort to undermine Palestinian activities aimed at helping the Palestinian residents of Jerusalem,” a Fatah official charged. “The Israeli campaign also aims to prevent the Palestinians from defending al-Aqsa Mosque.”
The PA Foreign Ministry said the “arbitrary and mass arrests” of Fatah members in Jerusalem was part of an Israeli effort to tighten its grip on Jerusalem and “complete the annexation plan” – a reference to Israel’s intention to extend its sovereignty to parts of the West Bank. The ministry called on the international community to speak out against Israeli measures “targeting the residents of east Jerusalem.”