Interparliamentary Union criticizes pending Israeli deportation of East Jerusalem Palestinian politicians

Members of the Interparliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva issued a criticism on Thursday of the pending Israeli deportations of East Jerusalem Palestinian politicians who were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council in January 2006 on the Hamas-backed Change + Reform Party list.

Mohammad Abu-Tir, perhaps the most senior of four East Jerusalem Palestinian men facing “deportation”, is facing expulsion on Sunday 18 July.

An Associated Press report said that the “IPU brings together lawmakers from 155 countries. The U.S. Congress isn’t a member”. This is published here.

The IPU said that deportation would violated the human rights of Palestinian parliamentarians Mohammed Abu Tir, Mohammed Totah and Ahmed Abu Atoun, who were were recently released from prison after serving four-year sentences, for their affiliation to Hamas. A fourth East Jerusalem Palestinian parliamentarian elected in 200, Khalid Abu Arafeh, is also facing deportation.

One question now is what is the IPU going to do to follow-up?

And what will it do if one or more of the deportations are carried out?

Incongruously, the Jerusalem Post reported that “Muhammad Abu Tir will be released from detention and exiled from the country next Sunday, if he can post bail of NIS 50,000. He is also required to post NIS 100,000 self-bail and NIS 100,000 third-party bail. Abu Tir was imprisoned for refusing to leave Jerusalem after Interior Minister Eli Yishai invalidated his Jerusalem residence permit”… This report is posted here.

So, if he can’t come up with that huge amount of money, he gets to stay in jail? In Jerusalem?

Two days earlier, the Jerusalem Post’s Palestinian Affairs correspondent by Khaled Abu Toameh reported that “Abu Tir was first arrested in 1974 and sentenced to 16 years in prison for security-related offenses. He was released 13 years later. In 1989 he was arrested for a second time, this time on charges of possession of weapons. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison.  Between 1990 and 2005 he spent eight years in prison on charges of membership in the armed wing of Hamas and trading in weapons”. This report can be read in full here.

The Voice of America’s correspondent in Geneva, Lisa Schlein, reported Thursday night that “the Committee says Israel has given the MPs the choice of renouncing their membership in the Palestinian Legislative Council or of facing deportation from East Jerusalem, the city of their birth. The committee says this is in violation of the fourth Geneva Convention”.   Her report is posted here.

Not much is clear about what’s happening.

But, deportation is a violation of the Road Map. Is Israel going to go ahead and deport Abu Tir when George Mitchell is here?

According to an IPU press release, the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has just concluded an examintion of “public cases concerning 122 legislators in 21 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Burundi, Cambodia, Colombia, Ecuador, Eritrea, Iraq, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Palestine/Israel, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Zimbabwe … The IPU assists legislators in representing their constituents freely and effectively. In 1976, it set up the Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, which has since examined cases in over 100 countries and has often helped those under threat obtain protection or reparation. This can take various forms, such as the release of a detained parliamentarian, reinstatement of an MP to parliament, an inquiry into attacks, prosecution of the perpetrators of such crimes and payment of compensation”. This is posted here.

[The Interparliamentary Union asked the Knesset speaker for clarification of the Knesset committee recommendation withdraw parliamentary privileges from MK Haneen Zoabi in June (she was on board the Mavi Marmara, sailing to Gaza, when the Israeli naval assault occurred on 31 May, and for that she has been called a “traitor”), and the IPU also expressed concerns about the death threats to Zoabi and about the pending censure, but did not seem to have anything to say after the plenary vote to punish Zoabi this week.]

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