Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash90
The Orient House in Jerusalem, the former PLO headquarters in Jerusalem

Jerusalem’s police on Sunday night arrested 21 Arab residents of the capital on suspicion that they illegally operated on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the city.

The police stated Monday morning that it raided several homes in eastern Jerusalem and arrested the group of suspects who operated on behalf of the PA in Jerusalem, a PA attempt to assert its sovereignty in Jerusalem.


During the search, the forces seized tens of thousands of shekels and vehicles used by the suspects during their activities.

“The operation is a result of covert activity and targeted intelligence collection by Israeli police against suspects operating in eastern Jerusalem in violation of the law,” the police stated.

The suspects allegedly served as PA representatives and acted on behalf of the PA security forces in eastern Jerusalem and the Arab villages surrounding the city.

The suspects, in their 40s and 50s, were taken for questioning, and later in the day, some of them will be brought before a judge for a hearing on the extension of their detention in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.

The police carried out a similar operation last month during which it arrested seven suspects.

TPS has reported that the Fatah movement in Jerusalem has been taking advantage of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis to assert its sovereignty in the eastern part of the city.

The Fatah movement of the Jerusalem District, under the direction of Mahmoud Abbas and the PA leadership, has been working to “ensure the peace of the Palestinian public” in the Old City and eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods.

Fatah youth activists, known as the Habibah, and hundreds of volunteers have been acting as public health officials on behalf of the PA.

Groups of people operate mainly during the night in the so-called “operation for the Palestinian public.”

This activity, according to Fatah officials, is another step in demonstrating Palestinian sovereignty in the eastern part of Jerusalem.

On social networks, activists wrote that Fatah is restoring its sovereignty in eastern Jerusalem and several campaigns entitled “Palestinian Sovereignty” are being distributed on social networks.

The PA’s actions in Jerusalem contravene Israeli laws meant to limit the PA’s presence in its capital.


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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.