Israel arrests Palestinian official in east Jerusalem

Fadi Al-Hidmi was arrested at his home near the Mount of Olives. (Screenshot)
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Updated 04 April 2020

Israel arrests Palestinian official in east Jerusalem

  • Palestinian officials said Al-Hidmi was working to assist residents as part of their response to the coronavirus pandemic
  • Israel bars the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the occupied West Bank, from operating in east Jerusalem or carrying out any political activities there

JERUSALEM: Israeli police arrested the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs early Friday for allegedly violating an Israeli ban on Palestinian political activities in east Jerusalem.
Fadi Al-Hidmi was arrested at his home near the Mount of Olives. His office circulated surveillance camera footage showing police searching his home with dogs. It said they confiscated 10,000 shekels (around $2,750). It was the fourth time he has been arrested.
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 war and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. The Palestinians want east Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state. Israel views the entire city as its capital.
Israel bars the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the occupied West Bank, from operating in east Jerusalem or carrying out any political activities there.
Palestinian officials said Al-Hidmi was working to assist residents as part of their response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Israel targets (those) who work for Jerusalem, even at such critical moments as we work to save our people’s lives from COVID19,” Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh tweeted, referring to the illness caused by the virus. “We demand his immediate release.”
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Al-Hidmi was arrested “on suspicions of Palestinian activities in Jerusalem.” He said police searched the home and confiscated documents as well as “large sums of money.”
He said the arrest was not connected to any efforts to combat the pandemic.
Israel has reported more than 7,000 cases and at least 36 deaths. The Palestinian Authority has reported 143 cases and one death in the territories it administers in the West Bank. Both have imposed sweeping lockdowns to try and slow the spread of the virus.
The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, who recover within a few weeks. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness or death, particularly in older patients or those with underlying health problems.


Snapchat curbs Trump posts for inciting ‘racial violence’

Updated 1 min 48 sec ago

Snapchat curbs Trump posts for inciting ‘racial violence’

  • “We are not currently promoting the president’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform,” Snapchat said
  • The move came after Twitter took an unprecedented stand by hiding a Trump post it said promoted violence

SAN FRANCISCO: Snapchat on Wednesday stopped promoting posts by US President Donald Trump, saying they incite “racial violence.”
“We are not currently promoting the president’s content on Snapchat’s Discover platform,” Snapchat said in response to an AFP inquiry, referencing the youth-focused social network’s section for recommended content.
“We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover.”
The move came after Twitter took an unprecedented stand by hiding a Trump post it said promoted violence, thrusting rival Facebook into turmoil for refusing to sanction false or inflammatory posts by the US president.
The decision was made over the weekend, during which Snapchat parent Snap chief executive Evan Spiegel sent a lengthy memo to employees condemning what he saw as a legacy of racial injustice and violence in the US.
“Every minute we are silent in the face of evil and wrongdoing we are acting in support of evildoers,” Spiegel wrote as companies responded to the outrage over the police killing of a black man in Minnesota.
“I am heartbroken and enraged by the treatment of black people and people of color in America.”
Snapchat will not promote accounts in the US that are linked to people who incite racial violence on or off the messaging platform, according Spiegel.
The Discover feature at Snapchat is a curated platform on which the California-based company get to decide what it recommends to users.
Trump’s account remains on the platform, it will just no longer be recommended viewing, according to Snapchat.
“We may continue to allow divisive people to maintain an account on Snapchat, as long as the content that is published on Snapchat is consistent with our community guidelines, but we will not promote that account or content in any way,” Spiegel said in the memo.
“We will make it clear with our actions that there is no grey area when it comes to racism, violence, and injustice — and we will not promote it, nor those who support it, on our platform.”
Snapchat is particularly popular with young Internet users, claiming that about half of the US “generation Z” population tapping into news through its Discover feature.