Quantcast i24NEWS - Israel releases Palestinian Jerusalem governor to house arrest

Israel releases Palestinian Jerusalem governor to house arrest

Adnan Gheith, the Palestinian Jerusalem Governor, brought to a Jerusalem court on November, 25th, 2018
MENAHEM KAHANA (AFP)

An Israeli court on Sunday released the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem to house arrest for three days, following his detention in connection with an investigation related to the Palestinian Authority’s arrest of a Palestinian-American citizen reportedly because he sold property to a Jew.

Adnan Gheith, who was arrested on November 25 -- his second arrest in as many months -- will be confined to his home through Tuesday, a Jerusalem magistrate court justice ruled.

Police have been investigating Gheith over suspicions he was involved in the Palestinian Authority's arrest in October of Issam Akel, an American citizen and Palestinian national, apparently because he sold his apartment in east Jerusalem’s Old City to a Jewish buyer -- a criminal offense under Palestinian land laws.

Such sales are considered treasonous among Palestinians, who see every sale of Palestinian land to Jewish buyers as a direct threat to the future of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Police also suspect Gheith of recruiting Palestinian residents of Jerusalem to the PA armed forces, which Israel says violates the 1993 Oslo accords.

Gheith was previously detained by Israel's internal security agency, the Shin Bet, for two days on October 20th for "illegal activities in Jerusalem" by the Palestinian Authority. His office was raided and searched.

AP Photo/Tara Todras-Whitehill

Israel meanwhile has halted security coordination with the PA in the Jerusalem area, Major General Adnan Al-Dumeiri, spokesman for the Palestinian security forces, told AFP.

Israel's public broadcaster Kan said that ending the coordination was a means in pressuring the Palestinians to release Akel from detention. 

Gheith was previously detained by Israel's internal security agency, the Shin Bet, for two days on October 20th for "illegal activities in Jerusalem" by the Palestinian Authority. His office was raided and searched.

A lawyer for Gheith has said that the governor had committed no crimes, adding that "the feeling is that the police are trying to prevent the defendant from functioning in his position".

The United States’ ambassador to Israel David Friedman last week weighed in on the land sale case, demanding the immediate release of the US citizen whose arrest he said was “antithetical to the values of the US & to all who advocate the cause of peaceful coexistence.”

A US State Department official said that Issam Akel has been receiving consular services from US consular officials in Jerusalem.

Israel annexed east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War in a move never recognized by the international community. It considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

Infractions of the Palestinian land sale law are punishable by death, and while officially no executions have been ordered in connection to the law extrajudicial killings -- sometimes with tacit Palestinian Authority approval -- have been carried out, according to Human Rights Watch.

AFP contributed to this report.

Comments

(0)
8Previous articleIsrael approves $187 million 'resilience' aid for Gaza-border communities
8Next articlePalestinian negotiator Erekat says Abbas willing to meet Netanyahu 'anywhere'