Raids and arrests: Israel accused of 'punishing' Palestinians for downgrading security ties

Raids and arrests: Israel accused of 'punishing' Palestinians for downgrading security ties
Palestinian officials accuse Israeli authorities of enacting coordinated crackdown in response to PA's downgrading of security ties.
2 min read
03 August, 2017
Mahmoud Abbas downgraded security ties with Israel after the al-Aqsa dispute [Getty]
Palestinians officials have accused Israel of taking punitive action in response to the Palestinian Authority's decision to downgrade security ties.

The officials say that Israel's actions, which have included raids against Palestinians and the rounding up of officials, are coordinated and aimed at pressuring the PA into renewing security coordination.

On Wednesday, Palestinian officials expressed their astonishment at the fact that the Beit El checkpoint, which is on the main route used by Palestinian officials entering Ramallah, had been closed by Israeli forces.

Israel's army claimed that the checkpoint had been inactive since Friday due to the al-Aqsa crisis, however Palestinians saw the closure as a retaliation to the downgraded security ties.

"We clearly understood this is a punitive measure, and it is likely we will see more of these incidents in the future, [with Israel] claiming it has to do with the lack of coordination," an unnamed Palestinian official was quoted by Haaretz as saying.

On the same day, Israeli forces raided the offices of Palestinian inspectors in Hebron. Eyewitnesses reported seeing a number of officials being arrested, as well as Israeli officers seizing documents from the building.

The office, which has around 30 staff, usually works in coordination with Israel to crack down on domestic violence and other crimes.

Ramallah reportedly viewed the raid as retaliatory action.

At present, Palestinian officials and leaders are avoiding coordination with Israeli authorities following the fallout that took place over increased Israeli security measures at the al-Aqsa mosque. As part of this, Palestinian leaders have taken alternative routes to avoid Israeli checkpoints and entering Israel itself to prevent contact with Israeli forces.

The downgrading of ties was announced by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during the al-Aqsa crisis. Until now, ties have not been restored despite Israel backing down and removing the controversial metal detectors from outside the al-Aqsa mosque.