Palestinian official arrested for illegal political activities in Jerusalem

Fadi al-Hidmi was arrested for flouting an Israeli law that prohibits Palestinian Authority officials from conducting political activities in areas under Israeli jurisdiction.

By World Israel News Staff

Israeli police arrested a Palestinian Authority official early Friday for violating an Israeli law that prohibits specified foreign political activities in Jerusalem, Israel’s capital.

Fadi al-Hidmi was arrested near the Mount of Olives. His office circulated surveillance camera footage showing police searching his home with dogs and confiscating currency.

Jerusalem has remained Israel’s capital since its founding. Israel gained control of eastern portions of Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war, including the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

Israel bars the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs Arab-inhabited parts of Judea and Samaria, from operating in Jerusalem or carrying out political activities there.

After al-Hidmi’s arrest, PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh tweeted false accusations about Israel thwarting Palestinian attempts to battle the coronavirus. In reality, Israel has extended aid to Palestinians and collaborated closely with the PA to confront the deadly pandemic.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld announced that al-Hidmi was arrested “on suspicions of Palestinian activities in Jerusalem.”

He added that police searched the home and confiscated documents as well as “large sums of money,” noting that the arrest was not connected to any efforts to combat the pandemic.

Israel has reported more than 7,000 cases and 44 deaths. The Palestinian Authority has reported 143 cases and one death in the areas it administers. Both have imposed sweeping lockdowns to slow the spread of the virus.

The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, who recover within a few weeks. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness or death, particularly in older patients or those with underlying health problems.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.