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Palestinian cultural leaders released 'under conditions' by Israeli police after brief detention

Israeli forces raided the two centres on Wednesday [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 July, 2020

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Palestinian leaders slammed the arrests as part of Israel's 'systematic campaign against Palestinians'.

Two prominent Palestinian cultural figures were released after a brief arrest by Israeli authorities on Wednesday, according to lawyers.

Rania Elias, who heads the Yabous Cultural Centre and her husband Suhail Khoury, Director General of the Edward Said National Conservatory of Music, were detained at their home in Jerusalem's Beit Hanina neighbourhood on Wednesday on suspicion of "funding terrorism".

The pair were then released in the evening "under conditions," Elias' lawyer Nasir Odeh, told AFP.

Odeh stressed that Israel's sweeping anti-terrorism laws allow Palestinians to be detained for a wide range of alleged offences including accepting money from organisations proscribed by Israel as "terrorist".

Israeli police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, confirmed that searches took place "at two organisations that were run in east Jerusalem claiming that they were involved in Palestinian culture", without mentioning terror offences.

Pictures posted to social media showed Israeli forces raiding the offices of the two centres, showing cabinets and files that appeared to have been opened and searched.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation slammed the arrests and raids as part of "Israel's violent and systematic campaign against Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem".

The Yabous Cultural Center in east Jerusalem was established in the mid 1990s with a mandate to celebrate Palestinian culture and Arab heritage in the city. 

The conservatory, named after the late Palestinian intellectual Edward Said, has branches in Jerusalem and across the occupied West Bank. 

Its mandate is to promote music and music education among Palestinian communities. 

Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

It considers the entire city its capital, while the Palestinians see the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

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