A Dutch politician, carrying a Palestinian flag, has been arrested by Israeli security forces after Friday prayers in the occupied Old City of East Jerusalem al-Quds.
Israeli soldiers arrested Tunahan Kuzu, the leader of Dutch political party DENK and a parliamentarian, as he was walking toward the al-Aqsa Mosque with a Palestinian flag in his hand.
The Israeli security forces also seized the Palestinian flag.
The DENK party said Kuzu, who is of Turkish descent, had been taken by a large group of heavily armed soldiers after Friday prayers and during a working visit to Jerusalem al-Quds.
Kuzu held some meetings with civil society representatives to discuss recent developments in the region and took part in the 71st anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba Day on Wednesday during his business trip to the occupied city, the statement added.
Palestinians commemorate May 15 as a day of Nakba or catastrophe. The event marks the forced expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from their homeland, following the creation of Israel in 1948 and their scattering across refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, and neighboring countries.
Tensions have been running high near the fence, separating Gaza from the occupied territories, since March which marked the start of a series of protests called “The Great March of Return.” Palestinian protesters demand the right to return for those driven out of their homeland.
More than 300 Palestinians have been killed since then, and over 17,300 have been injured.
Germany designates BDS as anti-Semitic
Separately on Friday, the German parliament voted to condemn as “anti-Semitic” a Palestinian movement that calls for economic pressure on Israel to end the occupation of Palestine’s territories.
In a move welcomed by the Tel Aviv regime, the majority of German lawmakers in the Bundestag voted in favor of a motion that accuses the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement of using anti-Semitic tactics to fulfill its political goals.
“The argumentation patterns and methods used by the BDS movement are anti-Semitic,” read the motion submitted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, their Social Democrat coalition partners as well as the Greens and Free Democrats.
The vote was denounced by the BDS as anti-Palestinian.
“The German establishment is entrenching its complicity in Israel’s crimes of military occupation, ethnic cleansing, siege and apartheid, while desperately trying to shield it from accountability to international law,” the BDS said.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the motion in a statement on Twitter, saying, “I hope that this decision will bring about concrete steps and I call upon other countries to adopt similar legislation.”
The BDS movement was initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian organizations and later turned international. It is meant to initiate “various forms of boycott against Israel until it meets its obligations under international law” and end its occupation of Palestinian lands.
Israel and its allies in Washington have long railed against the BDS, which calls for people and groups across the world to cut economic, cultural and academic ties to Tel Aviv.
Last year, Israel published a list of 20 organizations whose activists would be barred from entering the occupied territories due to their support for boycott campaigns.
Israel’s strategic affairs ministry has been allocated $36m to combat the BDS movement.