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Top Palestinian Officials Arrested By Israel Suspected of Abducting U.S. Citizen

View of an unidentified male suspect handcuffed to a bench in the Southeast Community Police Station, Los Angeles, California, April 24, 2015. The man had been arrested for solicitation of prostitution in the South Figueroa Street corridor by the LAPD's Human Trafficking Task Force. (Photo by Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)
Robert Nickelsberg/Getty
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – Israel on Saturday arrested two senior Palestinian officials suspected of assisting in the abduction of a Palestinian resident of Jerusalem who also carries U.S. citizenship.

Palestinian Authority Jerusalem Governor Adnan Ghaith and Jihad Faqih, the Jerusalem director of the PA General Intelligence Services, denied having any involvement in the abduction, which occurred two weeks ago.

The Jerusalem resident has since been held by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. According to Israel’s Kan broadcaster, he was wanted by the Palestinians for his involvement in selling an Arab-owned property in Jerusalem’s Old City to Jewish investors.

In a law evidencing  institutional anti-Semitism, the PA considers such sales to be “high treason,” a transgression that can incur the death penalty.

Breitbart Jerusalem can confirm that the individual held by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank holds U.S. citizenship. The individual’s name is being withheld from publication, but a copy of his U.S. passport was obtained by Breitbart.

A U.S. embassy spokesperson told Reuters that they were aware of the incident.

“We are aware of reports that a U.S. citizen has been detained by the Palestinian Authority. When a U.S. citizen is incarcerated or detained overseas, the Department of State works to provide all appropriate consular assistance,” the official said.

Israeli security forces arrested Ghaith when he was leaving a family member’s wedding in Jerusalem’s Arab Beit Hanina neighborhood.

According to his brother Hani, Ghaith has been arrested many times in the past several years for incitement.

Adnan al-Husseini, a Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member and former PA Jerusalem governor, slammed Israel for the arrests, saying the police force “targets the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem,” Wafa reported.

Yousif Mahmoud, a spokesman for the PA government, described the arrests as “a new crime at the expense of our people, its leadership and its eternal capital,” according to Wafa.

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