Ramallah: Israeli forces raided the offices of the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem on Sunday, authorities said, after reports of an investigation related to a land sale.
Israeli authorities confirmed the raid in Al-Ram, just on the other side of Israel’s separation wall from Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, but provided few details.
It came after Israel’s detention of the Palestinian governor, Adnan Gheith, on October 20. He was released two days later.
The Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Jerusalem affairs minister, Adnan al-Husseini, told AFP that Israeli forces confiscated documents and material during the raid.
The same building houses his ministry and the governor’s office, both of which he said were raided in the first such Israeli action.
Palestinian government spokesman Yusuf Mahmud said it was a “dangerous escalation of the occupation and a flagrant violation of all international laws and agreements”.
Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency said in a statement a joint raid with police and the army was over “illegal activity by the PA in Jerusalem”.
It said “various materials were seized which will be examined by security bodies.”
Asked to specify which illegal activity, the Shin Bet said only that all PA activity in Jerusalem was illegal.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised 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.
The PA has a minister for Jerusalem affairs and a Jerusalem governor located in Al-Ram, with Palestinian Authority activities barred in Jerusalem itself.
Israeli media reported that the investigation follows the PA’s arrest of a man last month accused of selling property in east Jerusalem to a Jewish buyer.
Such sales are highly controversial among Palestinians concerned with Israeli settlers buying property in east Jerusalem.
But among Israelis, there have been calls for authorities to free the man arrested by the PA over the sale.
Neither the PA nor Israeli authorities commented on the alleged arrest of the property seller, who Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported was a Palestinian with US citizenship.