Thursday, April 06, 2006

Israelis detain Palestinian minister

David Fickling and agencies
Thursday April 6, 2006

Israeli police today detained the Palestinian Authority's minister for Jerusalem affairs.
It was the first time Israel had arrested a member of the Hamas-led government since it first sat last week.

Khaled Abu Arafa and his bodyguard were taken into custody at a checkpoint on their way into Izzariya, a suburb of Jerusalem within the Palestinian-controlled West Bank.

Israel Radio said the 45-year-old politician had been arrested because, as a resident of Israeli-controlled Arab East Jerusalem, he is banned from entering the West Bank carrying an Israeli identity card.

Mr Arafa is a cabinet member of the Hamas-led government, but stood as an independent in January's elections.

His predecessor as minister, Ziad Abu Ziad, said Mr Arafa had been on his way to the PA's Jerusalem affairs office in Izzariya to receive supplies and furniture from the former administration.

Ahmed Jalajel, a photographer for the Al-Quds daily newspaper who was with Mr Arafa at the time, told the Associated Press: "They asked us for ID, they said: 'Get out.' He said: 'I am not getting out.' They opened the car and pushed him out.

"They asked him to sit down on the ground, and then they checked the IDs. They asked him to get into their jeep. He refused, then they pushed him into the jeep."

The Palestinian cabinet spokesman, Ghazi Hamad, told Reuters Israel was undermining the work of the new Palestinian government. "The arrest of a cabinet minister proves the falseness of Israel's arguments that it seeks peace," he said.

Mr Arafa has been arrested by Israel several times in the past over alleged suspicious fundraising.

His father was a leader of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood in the 50s, and his brother Tarek, an alleged Hamas member, was killed in a shootout with Israeli forces in 1994.

Is this a taste of what's to come regarding Israel's treatment of the Hamas-led Government? But what the hell, they're all just terrorists, right?

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At 11:40 PM, Blogger Sophia said...

Amira Hass reports on restrictions of movements inside the territories:


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