Israeli police barred a traditional iftar meal for breaking the Ramadan fast which was to take place at an East Jerusalem hotel on grounds it had been organized by Hamas, a Palestinian activist said on Sunday.
During the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began last weekend, Muslims are expected to abstain from food, drink and sex from dawn until sunset, when they break their fast with a meal known as iftar.
According to Fakhri Abu Diab, a group called the Silwan Charity Foundation was preparing for a mass iftar meal at the Panorama Hotel in Ras al-Amud on the Mount of Olives.
However, two hours before the meal was to begin “Israeli police came and prevented it from taking place on the grounds that the foundation is financed by Islamic movements, including Hamas,” said Abu Diab, an activist in the flashpoint neighborhood of Silwan.
“Police closed the hotel, called off the meal and arrested two board members of the Silwan Charity Foundation,” he told AFP, saying the meal was eventually held elsewhere.
Israel police spokeswoman Luba Samri told AFP that “the meal was prevented in accordance with item six of the anti-terror decree, and three of its organizers were arrested, including director of the Panorama Hotel.”
Israel refuses to recognize Hamas, which won the 2006 elections in Gaza, as the Islamist movement accuses the Jewish state of suppressing the Palestinians.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza, in 1967 and considers all of the city its “eternal, undivided” capital.
It is quick to close down any Palestinian activity in the sector which could be considered political.
The Jewish state routinely abuses Islamic customs, with a morning prayer session at the iconic al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem attacked by Israeli soldiers only last week.
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