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  • Israel arrested Palestinian minister for touring Al Aqsa mosque with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera.

    Israel arrested Palestinian minister for touring Al Aqsa mosque with Chilean President Sebastian Piñera. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 June 2019

Palestinian minister for Jerusalem Affairs was arrested by Israel for allegedly undermining "Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem" by touring the Al Aqsa mosque with the Chilean president. 

Israeli police said Sunday that they had detained and questioned the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs, Fadi Hadami.

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Hadami was arrested for “activities in Jerusalem” after he accompanied Chilean President Sebastian Piñera to the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem. He was released after hours of questioning, according to the Palestinian news agency Wafa. 

Local media reported that he was arrested at his home in the early hours of Sunday. Hadami’s lawyer Muhannad Jabara said the detention was a result of pressure from the Israeli right-wing on the Israeli government. 

Jabara said the Isreali police questioned the minister for allegedly violating "Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa mosque" by accompanying the Chilean president. 

Hadami Tuesday visited Al-Alqsa with the Piñera, enraging Israel as it violated regulations and understandings reached with the country for the president’s visit. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said in a statement Wednesday that the government "takes seriously any infringement of Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque], especially one that violates an agreed-upon procedure. We must distinguish between absolute freedom of worship that Israel safeguards [and] ensuring that our sovereignty over the Temple Mount is not harmed.”

The Chilean embassy later said that Piñera’s visit to the mosque was of personal nature. 

Al-Aqsa has been one of the most sensitive issues in the conflict. The mosque, which is called Temple Mount by Israel, is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest site for Muslims. At present, the mosque is administered by the Muslim Waqf board and secured by Israeli police. 

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 War and later annexed the city in a move not recognized by the international community. Israel considers Jerusalem as their undivided capital wheres Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Israel's claim over the city has been emboldened by the recent decision by the U.S. government of Donald Trump to recognize the city as the capital of Israel and moving its embassy in the country from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

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