Sunday, October 23, 2016

World Palestinians who attended Jewish settlement event arrested by their own police 

Four Palestinian guests who attended a Jewish holiday celebration on Wednesday at an Israeli settlement in the West Bank have been arrested by Palestinian security forces, family members said Friday.

Palestinian authorities released no information on the arrests, including why the four men were detained late Thursday.

Relatives of the Palestinians say they were taken into custody after photographs appeared on social media and news websites about the unusual celebration in the Jewish settlement of Efrat, in which Jews and Muslims gathered together.

Relatives of the detained men said they would likely be held until Sunday and they were being interrogated.

They said it was not the celebration at the house of Efrat’s mayor, Oded Revivi, that got them into trouble with Palestinian authorities. Instead, they believe it was the presence at the gathering of senior Israeli army officers, including a general, alongside top Israeli police officers.

[The event went well until the Palestinians guests headed home]

“The problem is the photos of the soldiers and us,” said Asad Abu Hamad, 40, a relative of the arrested men.

“The mayor tricked them,” Abu Hamad said. “Instead of helping us, he destroyed us.”

The cousin of the arrested men said they went to the gathering in a gesture of friendship, but also to press their cases to end road closures into their villages and home demolitions by Israeli bulldozers.

Pro-Israel voices on social media pointed to the arrests as evidence that Palestinian authorities refuse to allow their Muslim citizens to meet peacefully with Jews.

Revivi, who is also a lieutenant colonel in the Israel army reserves, said he was in anguish over the arrests and was pressing for the men’s release.

“I understand they are upset. I understand what the relatives are saying,” Revivi said. “But was this a trap? This was no trap.”

He said his Palestinian guests spoke openly — and directly — with his Jewish guests and with the military and police officers in attendance.


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