Israel arrests Palestinian ‘governor of Jerusalem’

Palestinian official Adnan Jit arrested again for activity that violates accords. Saeb Erekat claims PA ‘governor’ of Jerusalem was only working to fight coronavirus.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

A senior Palestinian official on Sunday criticized Israel’s arrest of the Palestinian Authority’s “governor of Jerusalem,” saying he was only working to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.

On Sunday, Israeli security officials arrested Adnan Jit at his home in the city’s neighborhood of Silwan just outside the Old City. Palestinian sources said Jit has been arrested at least four times in the past 18 months.

Before the weekend authorities also arrested Palestinian minister of Jerusalem affairs Fadi al-Hadami. Both Hadami and Jit have been repeatedly detained over the years for breaking laws prohibiting the Palestinian Authority from carrying out political activity in Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) considers Jerusalem as its future capital city and banned Arab residents of the city from participating in municipal elections there. The PA appointed Jit, suspected of previous activity as a Fatah militant, as “Governor of Jerusalem.”

In 2018, Jit was briefly arrested in connection with the abduction and murder of a Palestinian who was accused of selling property to a Jew. Police said Jit expressed support for the PA’s death penalty for Arabs who sell land to Jews.

On March 29, Jit was shown in an official PA video giving an extensive interview about PA activities in Jerusalem related to the epidemic.

Saeb Erekat accused Israel of “chasing” after Palestinian officials “for nothing but to prevent our people in Jerusalem from fighting the coronavirus and to take preventive measures to prevent its spread.” Erekat is known as the senior Palestinian negotiator at the long-frozen Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and for his harsh anti-Israel rhetoric over the years.

“What is potentially more interesting is the amount of money the PA wastes, every year, on its Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs,” said Maurice Hirsch, Director of Legal Strategies at Palestine Media Watch, an NGO that monitors what the Palestinian media reports in Arabic.

“Fifty-eight million shekels last year, 53 million in 2018 and 83 million in 2017. In total, 448 million shekels ($124 million) since 2011,” Hirsch said, adding the spending was “all in direct breach of (the) Oslo (Accords) and Israeli law.”

In the past 24 hours, 20 new coronavirus carriers were discovered in the PA-administered areas, bringing the official number of cases there to 234 while the number of verified infections remains at 12, Ynet reported.