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Israeli forces detain Palestinian officials ignoring their VIP cards

On Thursday, Israeli forces arrested the Palestinian housing minister in Ramallah, Maher Ghoneem, and the deputy information minister, Mahmoud Khalifa, and took them to an Israeli investigation centre in Jerusalem.

The two Palestinian officials, their minders and their media team were arrested from the sit in tent in Al-Bostan neighbourhood of Jerusalem.

Witnesses said the ministers raised their VIP cards, but that the Israeli soldiers ignored them and insisted on taking them to Al-Makopia investigation centre.


After several hours, the officials and all their team members were released, but were obliged to return to Ramallah.

The deputy information minister, Mahmoud Khalifa, said that they had acquired the requisite permission to visit Jerusalem, but that this was "a step aimed at undermining our tour to look at the suffering of the Palestinians," he told a local Palestinian new agency.

Khalifa said that the visit, which coincides with the birthday of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH), comes in line with government solidarity efforts with Jerusalemite families facing the threat of their lands in Sho'fat, Silwan and Beit Safafa neighbourhoods in Jerusalem being confiscated.

The Palestinian government in Ramallah condemned the detention of both officials and their accompanying teams branding it an illegal measure.

It also called for an end to arbitrary Israeli activities which violate the rights of Palestinians, primarily settlement construction which is considered illegal according all international agreements.

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