The Israeli army says the Palestinians were detained for “suspected involvement in popular terrorist activities,” but Palestinians say “real estate deals” in occupied East Jerusalem could be behind the detention spree.
Israeli forces rounded up 18 Palestinians in overnight raids across the occupied West Bank, said the Israeli military on Tuesday, raising the number of those detained since Monday to at least 50.
The Palestinians were arrested for “suspected involvement in popular terrorist activities,” the military said in a statement, without elaborating on the nature of these activities.
On Monday, 32 Palestinians were arrested in occupied East Jerusalem.
Dispute over property transactions?
Israeli police would not disclose how the activists had been supporting the security services, but their case appears to be related to Palestinian Authority officials targeting occupied East Jerusalem residents involved in property transactions with Israeli Jews.
Last month Palestinian authorities arrested a Palestinian resident of occupied East Jerusalem for allegedly having sold property to Jews, which is illegal under Palestinian law.
“The Israeli authorities arrested at dawn today [Monday] 32 Jerusalemites accused of working with the Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem, forbidden under the Oslo accords,” Muhammed Mahmoud, lawyer for the detainees, said.
“They will appear in court, a continuation of the arrest of the governor [Adnan Ghaith], they claim that this is connected to the real estate deals in the Old City, and in Jerusalem.”
On Sunday, Israel arrested Palestinian Authority governor of Jerusalem, Adnan Ghaith, on similar accusations.
His detention has been extended for five days.
The Israeli army frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns across the occupied West Bank on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians.
According to Palestinian figures, some 6,500 Palestinians continue to languish in Israeli detention facilities, including scores of women and hundreds of minors.
The arrests come after recent tensions between Israel and Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem, an area the Palestinians claim as their capital.
Israel captured the area in the 1967 Six-Day War and annexed it to its capital — a move not recognised internationally.