Israel frees Palestinian minister after arrest over Pinera’s Al-Aqsa visit

JERUSALEM – Police in Israel have released from custody the Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs after questioning him over claims he organized activities in the city in “violation of Israeli rules”.

Fadi al-Hadmi was arrested in his east Jerusalem home early Sunday, days after he accompanied Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and his delegation to the Al-Aqsa mosque.

On Wednesday, Israel’s Foreign Ministry reprimanded Pinera, who during his visit in Israel and the West Bank was accompanied by Palestinian officials to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount compound.

According to the Israeli ministry, it was decided in an earlier agreement with the Chileans that Palestinian officials would not accompany Pinera, who also paid a visit to the Western Wall.

The status of Al-Aqsa, known to Jews as the Temple Mount and located above the Western Wall, is one of the most sensitive issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It is the holiest site in Judaism and the third-holiest for Muslims after Mecca and Medina, administered by the Muslim Waqf but secured by Israeli police.

Chile later said Pinera’s visit was private, with Hadami’s presence not part of official protocol.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem and the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War. It later annexed east Jerusalem in a move never recognized by the international community.

Israel sees all of Jerusalem as its undivided capital, while the Palestinians see east Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.