PROFILE – Jerusalem governor Adnan Ghaith

By Mahmoud Barakat

ANKARA (AA) – An Israeli court released Palestinian governor of Jerusalem Adnan Ghaith this week to a house arrest for five days after a week-long detention.

His arrest came as part of Israeli efforts to prevent the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority from carrying out any political and security-related activities in East Jerusalem.

This was the third time the Jerusalem governor was arrested by Israeli forces in only one month.

A resident of the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, Ghaith was sworn in by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas as the Jerusalem governor in August of this year.

Before his appointment, Ghaith served as the secretary of Abbas’ Fatah movement in 2012. He was later elected a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, a quasi-parliament, and chairman of the Jerusalem Committee.

Ghaith has won a reputation in Jerusalem for his campaigns against Israeli measures to Judaize the holy city and settlement building.

In 2008, he was detained by Israeli forces and held in prison for six months under Israel’s policy of “administrative detention”.

In October, Ghaith was arrested by Israeli forces and held for several days before being released without charges.

And in late November, he was arrested by Israeli forces for the second time in a month. His detention came shortly after Israeli authorities banned the Jerusalem governor from entering the occupied West Bank for a six-month period.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Mideast conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem might one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, during the 1967 Middle East War. It formally annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as its capital in a move never recognized by the international community.

International law continues to view East Jerusalem, along with the entire West Bank, as "occupied territories" and considers all Jewish settlement construction there as illegal.