Palestinian Authority faces struggle for existence in East Jerusalem: officials

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RAMALLAH, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian officials said on Friday that Israel has stepped up its policies to prevent any existence of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in East Jerusalem, by arresting its senior officials, preventing official activities and closing Palestinian institutions.

The officials told Xinhua that the Israeli measures against the Palestinians "have been increasing recently," stressing that Israel aims to "erase the Palestinian presence in the holy city."

Earlier in the day, an Israeli court extended the detention of the PA's Governor of Jerusalem Adnan Gheith, who was arrested on July 18, for seven more days.

Abdallah Siam, the deputy governor, said that Israel claimed there is "a secret file" against Gheith, but "in fact it has arrested him for political reasons."

Gheith's detention falls within the prohibition of any Palestinian activity in Jerusalem, Siam said, adding that the Israeli judiciary is part of "the occupation tools to implement the scheme to obliterate the Arab-Islamic identity of the Holy City by practicing political detention."

Palestinian activists on social media launched campaigns of solidarity with Gheith, while others published his photos amid calls for his release and enabling him to perform his duties.

Also, the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called on the International Committee of the Red Cross and the High Contracting Parties that signed the Geneva Conventions to pressure Israel to release Gheith as soon as possible.

This is the most prolonged detention period for Gheith after his repeated arrest in the past two years, according to Siam.

Since he took office in August 2018, Gheith has been arrested 17 times.

On Wednesday, Israeli police raided three well-known art centers in East Jerusalem, confiscated thousands of documents, files, PCs, tablets, and surveillance cameras, and then stormed into their directors' homes, said Palestinian and Israeli sources.

According to official Palestinian sources, Israel has closed about 90 Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem during the past four years and prevented the PA from carrying out any sovereign appearances in the city.

The detention of Gheith this time, closure of institutions and prevention of any manifestations of the PA in Jerusalem "is a serious matter and a struggle for existence that the PA is fighting in Jerusalem," a Palestinian official said on condition of anonymity.

On Thursday evening, the Palestinian presidency said in a press statement that "the Israeli actions ... will not deter us from adhering to our principles and defending our sanctities and our eternal capital." Enditem

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