Israeli police briefly arrested prominent Palestinian moderate and peace campaigner Sari Nusseibeh on Wednesday morning, accusing him of hiring Palestinian labourers from the West Bank to work at the university he heads.
Jerusalem police spokesman Shmuel Ben-Ruby said border police on patrol stopped to check the documents of four Palestinian workers at al-Quds University whom they believed to be illegal.
According to Ben-Ruby, the workers fled to the university's administration building, and all five were arrested.
Ben-Ruby said Nusseibeh came out of the university and told the police he was responsible for the men; but Nusseibeh told reporters outside the Beit Hanina police headquarters that: "I had no idea about it".
Nusseibeh was released without charge after about five hours in custody.
Nusseibeh, who is president of the Jerusalem university, has been working to gather support for a peace plan he put together with Ami Ayalon, former chief of Israel's Shin Bet security service.
The plan envisions a Palestinian state alongside Israel, and the two have collected tens of thousands of signatures supporting it.
The grass-roots plan has gained international prominence, with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan endorsing it and US Secretary of State Colin Powell meeting with Nusseibeh and Ayalon last year to give them his support.