Israel Hayom/exclusive to JNS.org – Palestinian Authority security forces have released four Palestinians arrested Thursday, Oct. 20, for attending a Sukkot holiday event at Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi’s sukkah in Gush Etzion.
“I call upon the Palestinian Authority to immediately release my Sukkot guests. It is absurd that having coffee with Jews is considered a crime by the Palestinian Authority. Initiatives that seek to foster cooperation and peace between people should be encouraged, not silenced. It’s time the Palestinian Authority asks itself whether it would prefer to fan the flames of conflict instead of working to bring people together,” Revivi had said in a statement after the men joined several dozen other Palestinians living near Efrat in visiting the sukkah along with about 30 Jewish Israelis as part of a peace event.
The prisoners were released after Maj. Gen. Yoav Mordechai, coordinator of government activities in the territories, intervened.
Before their release, many in Israel spoke out on the prisoners’ behalf.
A senior official in Palestinian Authority security services told Israel Hayom that the arrests were in-line with Palestinian Authority law, which classifies meetings with settlers as fraternizing with the enemy. The law exists to prevent them from being exposed to incitement, he said.
Addressing the issue, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “I call on the international community to work to help free these innocent Palestinians whose imprisonment is yet further proof of the Palestinian refusal to make peace.”