Israeli security forces arrested 3 Palestinian cultural leaders in East Jerusalem yesterday. Rania Elias, director of the Yabous cultural centre and Suhail Khoury, director of the Edward Said National Conservatory for Music, were released the same day but Dawoud al-Ghoul, head of the Jerusalem Arts Network, remains in custody.
PAX knows Dawoud as a leading Palestinian civil society figure in the cultural field in Jerusalem. According to an Israeli police spokesperson the arrests were made in connection with tax evasion and fraud. PAX stresses these are typical accusations to silence civil society and that the arrests can’t be seen as incidents but are part of a larger crackdown by Israel on Palestinian civil society and institutions in East Jerusalem.
PAX calls for the immediate release of Dawoud al-Ghoul and calls upon international actors to raise the issue of the arrests and the broader context of repression of Palestinian civic space in Jerusalem with Israeli authorities.