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Thursday, February 20, 2014 

Two eyebrow raising subjects

Haaretz reported about two different incidents that took place, the first being what a resident of the Arabic neighborhoods in Jerusalem said about the mayor:
In two unrelated incidents this month, the Israel Police questioned two Palestinians from East Jerusalem about a Facebook posting that one wrote and a memoir written by the other.

Earlier this week Ameer Abd Rabbo, a photographer, posted a status on his Facebook page describing Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat as the “mayor of the occupation.” The post included a picture of Barkat at the dedication of a new community center in the Beit Hanina neighborhood.

On Tuesday evening, Abd Rabbo received a phone call from the Jerusalem police, asking him to report to the Russian Compound station in downtown Jerusalem for questioning. According to Abd Rabbo, the interview lasted about half an hour and the only subject discussed was the Facebook status. The investigator told Abd Rabbo he was suspected of incitement. “He told me, ‘You live in this city, why did you write occupation?” Abd Rabbo told Haaretz.

In a response, the Jerusalem district police said Abd Rabbo “was called in to clear up a message he posted on Facebook. He was questioned and released shortly after.”
He was inciting in a way, and sure isn't showing any gratitude for the good Barkat's done for the city. The second is about a woman who tried to run a book event under PLO sponsorship:
The second incident involved author Rania Hatem and a memoir she published about her life as a Palestinian woman. Forced to marry at age 14, she was abused by her husband and divorced without her family’s consent.

“It’s not a political book,” she says. “It’s a book about love.”

Two weeks ago, as a book launch that she had organized was about to begin, four Border Police vehicles converged at the venue, and an officer ordered her to cancel the event. The procedure was repeated when she tried to hold a second, smaller launch party at her home two days later, and the following day she was called in for questioning at the Russian Compound police station.

Hatem says investigators questioned for four hours about the book and the launches, claiming the Palestinian Authority was behind the events.

The Jerusalem police routinely disperse crowds at events identified with the PA, including children’s festivals and nonpolitical cultural events.

“I wanted to do a good thing, to show that even if you’re divorced, you can return to learning and speaking about things. I worked on the book for two and a half years, and I saw how they destroyed my dream. I asked them, ‘Why did you do this?” Hatem relates.

“According to intelligence received, the two events were held with PA sponsorship, in violation of a law prohibiting such activity,” the police said in a response, that went on to say that the action was taken on the basis of an order signed by the home front defense minister.

A few months ago around a dozen young Palestinians were arrested on suspicion of fomenting incitement on blogs and social media websites. Most of the activists were connected to Islamist movements. They were questioned by police and released.
Her description of the book is telling. I suspect she's written a very sugarcoated take on a galling subject, her former husband's abuse notwithstanding, and any connection she led with the PLO tells that alas, this isn't the scandal-expose it could've been. Good on the police for stopping the show.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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