For longest Palestinian hunger-striking prisoner, Samer Issawi, Israel is now proposing…a real deportation

Samer Issawi, on hunger strike for over 200 days [off and on water with supplements], has refused being sent from Israeli jail to Gaza.

So, AP reports this evening, Israel is now proposing a real deportation:

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel has offered to deport a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner to Europe or a U.N.-member country, an Israeli official said Friday, in an effort to reach a compromise over the high-profile detainee.  But a lawyer for the 33-year-old hunger striker says he has refused to be deported, and a European Union official denied that Israel had officially made the offer to deport him…The Israeli official, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity in line with regulations, said the prime minister’s office offered to deport Issawi after EU and UN officials expressed concern about his health. The Israeli official said neither body had replied to the offer. The official said if an EU or U.N.-member country was willing to take him, Israel would be more than happy to let him go, but that so far, no country had offered…Jawad Bulous, a lawyer for Issawi, said the prisoner had turned down a previous offer to be sent to the Gaza Strip, and would not accept deportation to any other country. ”He refuses all of these options’, Bulous said”.  This AP report is posted here


The AP report contains other real news, which was previously not reported: “The Israeli official said Issawi was re-arrested for trying to reestablish a Hamas cell in the West Bank”.

AP also reported that “Issawi was sentenced to 26 years prison for his role in a series of shooting attacks targeting Israeli police cars and students at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. He was released from prison as part of a 2011 exchange that freed hundreds of Palestinians…But Issawi was arrested again for violating the conditions of his release by entering the nearby West Bank. He is expected to carry out his entire sentence as a result”.

Another agency, AFP, reported that “Issawi, 33, was first arrested in 2002 and sentenced to 26 years for military activities on behalf of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine…Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel was willing to deport Issawi ‘to any EU member country, or any UN member country’, said the official, noting that they had yet to receive an answer from either. An EU spokesman told AFP that ‘Israel has not formally approached the EU on this subject’. However, the Israeli official insisted the issue ‘came up in official communications between officials on both sides’. Lawyer Jawad Boulos said that while ‘Israel had tried to make him agree to being deported’ to any of a number of countries, including Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Finland and Switzerland, Issawi had ‘strongly refused in principle to be deported to any state’.” This AFP story is published here.

Abu Tir deported today from Jerusalem to West Bank

The UN’s Special Coordinator, Robert Serry, got it right: Mohammad Abu Tir was deported to … Ramallah.

Abu Tir, who spent four years in jail, then was released — and two weeks later rearrested and jailed on deportation orders which were carried out today, immediately, after a hearing in the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court –

An appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court is still pending.

All of this, because Abu Tir was a Hamas-affiliated politician from Um Tubas (a village in East Jerusalem that was agglomerated by Israel into the Greater Jerusalem Municipality after the June 1967 war) who was elected in January 2006 as a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council  The PLC has been unable to meet for most of the past four years because Israeli arrests of the Hamas-affiliated members deprived it of a quorum.  On top of that, the term of this PLC was for four years, and it expired in January 2010.

Still, it was decided to carry out this deportation anyway.

Serry issued a statement saying that “the potential precedent set by today’s Israeli court decision which led to the transfer of a Jerusalem Palestinian Legislative Council member to Ramallah is worrying. This case and that of three other lawmakers currently facing court proceedings continue to raise serious human rights concerns regarding Palestinian residency rights in East Jerusalem. I will be raising the UN’s concerns directly with the Israeli government and international partners. It is essential that all parties refrain from provocative actions, particularly at this time”.

I wonder why Serry failed to mention that deportation is a specific violation (it is listed right at the end of Phase One) of Israel’s obligations under the Road Map?

Mairead Maguire deported from Israel overnight

According to the Jerusalem Post, “Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire was deported from Israel on Tuesday, the Interior Ministry confirmed, after boarding a flight to the UK earlier in the morning [n.b. – before dawn]. On Monday evening, the Supreme Court ruled that Maguire must leave Israel, in accordance with a deportation order barring her from entering the country for the next 10 years”. This news was published here.

The Supreme Court justices indicated that they based their reasoning on their belief that Maguire knew that her two previous deportations, in the context of her participating in sea expeditions designed to “break” the Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza, also included ten-year bans from entering Israel.

It is not clear how the justices arrived at the conclusion that Maguire knew about the ten-year ban.

They also said that Maguire should have addressed herself — and apparently still has the right to appeal — to Israel’s Interior Ministry against the ten-year ban.

The only discussion I’ve seen about this elsewhere revolves now around whether or not Maguire received a Hebrew-language document (which was supposed to have been explained to her in English in the presence of two witnesses) about her deportation, which she may have disregarded, and which she apparently did not sign because she would have objected to the charge that she entered Israel illegally. But, did she know about the ten-year ban?

One news report, which we cited in an earlier post, mentioned a document prepared for the Court with the assistance of the Irish Embassy in Israel — suggesting, though it was not clear, that the Irish Embassy might have been aware of the ten-year ban.

In addition, the Israeli state attorney’s representative told the Supreme Court that Israel’s Foreign Ministry was sure that one of the organizers of the Nobel women’s initiative (which sponsored Maguire’s trip to participate in meetings held in various places in Israel and the West Bank over the past week) had inquired, and was aware of, the ten-year ban.

But Maguire herself — who does not at all appear to be a practised liar — told the Supreme Court that she was “shocked” to learn of the ten-year ban when she arrived on a flight on 28 September.

Continue reading Mairead Maguire deported from Israel overnight

Israeli Supreme Court upholds deportation decision for Mairead Maguire

The Israeli Supreme Court has apparently decided to stand behind a deportation decision made last Tuesday at Ben Gurion Airport when Northern Ireland’s Mairead Maguire landed to attend a conference of women Nobel Peace Prize winners with Israeli and Palestinian women.

Maguire had participated in three expeditions to break the seige on Gaza by sea, and received two previous deportation orders which also banned her from returning to Israel for the next ten years.

A panel of three Supreme Court justices said they did not believe Maguire was unaware of the ban.

Israel’s state attorney convinced the Supreme Court that Maguire should have appealed the matter through Israel’s Interior Ministry rather than just flying to Israel and showing up at the airport.

Continue reading Israeli Supreme Court upholds deportation decision for Mairead Maguire

Mairead Maguire appears before Israel's Supreme Court

But it apparently did not go very well.

According to a report by the Associated Press, published in Haaretz, “Maguire, her face pale and twitching, called on Israel to cease what she called its ‘apartheid policy against the Palestinian people’.” But, the AP report noted, “The comments were unlikely to endear Maguire to the court”.

What happened next, AP said, was that “Justice Asher Grunis retorted [‘This is no place for propaganda’] and cut her off. The session ended soon thereafter”.

UPDATE: It was the seventh day of Maguire’s detention. She was briefly hospitalized two days earlier… Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab minority rights in Israel, which was representing Maguire, wrote in an press release [on Sunday 3 October] announcing its appeal to the Supreme Court that “Ms. Maguire fell ill on Friday evening 1 October following her [earlier] court hearing [in the Central District Court in Petah Tikvah] and was taken to a local hospital for tests. Ms. Maguire rested in the hospital for three hours before returning to her holding cell at Ben-Gurion International Airport. Detention officers allowed Ms. Maguire only partial access to her medical records and refused a phone call to her husband in Ireland. Ms. Maguire has now been in detention for six days”. This was published here.

AP added, in its report on the Supreme Court session, that “The government opposed a court-proposed compromise that Maguire be allowed to join the delegation for two days and then leave”. This report is published here.

The Jerusalem Post reported Sunday night that there are actually two deportation orders against Maguire, and that the Israeli Foreign Ministry had previously indicated, earlier this year, that it could not intervene.

Continue reading Mairead Maguire appears before Israel's Supreme Court

Mairead Maguire to appeal deportation in Israel's Supreme Court

The Jerusalem Post has reported that Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire has decided to appeal her imminent deportation from Israel to the country’s Supreme Court. This is reported here.

UPDATE: Maguire has also challenged her continuing detention, which began last Tuesday. She is asking to be admitted or given entry into Israel.

Gideon Levy wrote in Haaretz earlier today, here, that a Nobel Peace Prize winner had been locked up in Israel and nobody cared.

Continue reading Mairead Maguire to appeal deportation in Israel's Supreme Court

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?

Continue reading Interparliamentary Union criticizes pending Israeli deportation of East Jerusalem Palestinian politicians

An offer he could refuse – Abu Tir remains in jail, facing "deportation"

It doesn’t make a lot of sense: the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court today offered a deal to detained Hamas-affiliated East Jerusalem politician Mohammad Abu Tir to be free on a large amount of bail, provided he agree to leave Jerusalem for a voluntary exile by the beginning of next week (18 July).

If he does not agree to leave voluntarily — which he has vowed not to do — he will be forcibly expelled, the Jerusalem court ruled today.

He would be deported — and he would lose all his bail money. Not a good deal. So, he is staying in jail.

Continue reading An offer he could refuse – Abu Tir remains in jail, facing "deportation"

Abu Tir "deportation" trial may resume at 2pm today

East Jerusalem Palestinian politician Mohammad Abu Tir is due in court today at 2 pm, before Judge Carmi Mossek of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court (in the Russian Compound in West Jerusalem).    At a court hearing on 4 July, the case was postponed until today — and it may be postponed yet again, if there is not yet a political solution available.

UPDATE: The court postponed the case again, until Wednesday.

Abu Tir and three other men, all elected in January 2006 to the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC), are facing — for this — what is being called “deportation” from Jerusalem, though to where is not clear.

Abu Tir served over four years in jail for this reason, and was released about six weeks ago.

After that, the Israeli Police summoned him and his three colleagues — all Palestinian East Jerusalemites elected to the PLC in the last elections in 2006 — and confiscated their Jerusalem ID cards.

Then, Abu Tir was arrested near his house for not having an ID, and for “trying to enter the State of Israel illegally”.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) has been trying to broker one kind of solution — in which Abu Tir and three others who were elected (in Israeli-approved elections, on what I have recently heard was also an Israeli-approved list of candidates running on the Hamas-affiliated Change + Reform Party) would formally renounce  Hamas.

This may be too much to ask…even if we leave aside all the questions of (1) how the PLC has been unable to meet for years due to a lack of a quorum because Israel arrested most of the Change + Reform party MPs in the West Bank, or of (2) how the term of the PLC that was elected in January 2006 is considered to have expired in January 2010, or even of  (3) what exactly is meant by “Jerusalem”, or (4) by “deportation”.

This  may be too much to ask… though not necessarily because of these men’s loyalty to Hamas, which may or may not have eroded over time.

This may be too much to ask… because it is too transparently and embarassingly partisan, and fundamentally undemocratic.

Deportation, as we have written before, is a violation of fundamental human rights, international humanitarian law, the Oslo agreements between the P.L.O. and Israel (as Abu Mazen said in his Mihraj speech at Ramallah’s Cultural Palace a few days ago) — AND it is a specific violation of the Road Map.

Are George Mitchell, Hillary Clinton, and Barack Obama paying any attention?

East Jerusalem parliamentarian arrested, facing "deportation"

Facing possible “deportation” — whatever that means in the circumstances — from East Jerusalem, Mohammad Abu Tir, a Hamas-affiliated politician elected in January 2006 to the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC), was arrested this afternoon in Jerusalem (where he is not supposed to be, any more) reportedly by undercover Israeli police disguised as Palestinians, and taken to the Russian Compound in West Jerusalem, where —  if he’s lucky —  he may have a court hearing tomorrow.

A month ago, he was released from jail after serving more than four years, basically for having been elected to the local Palestinian parliament on the Hamas-backed Change and Reform Party ticket.

YNet reported tonight that “During a Shin Bet interrogation just hours after his release, Abu-Tir was told he had to leave his hometown Jerusalem within a month (by June 19).  ‘I don’t know what to say, this is an injustice which reflects an attempt at extortion’, Abu-Tir said to Ynet at the time. ‘They told me I must remain in my village (Umm Tuba) and never go to the city. I don’t know the reason for this’.”

Instead, Ynet reported, “Palestinian sources said Abu-Tir was arrested as he left his village, and that among those who arrested him were undercover officers disguised as Arabs. His family was unable to define the area forbidden to Abu-Tir, who holds the second slot on Hamas’ party list”.   This YNet report is published here.

The “deportation” order dates back to before his arrest in the spring of 2006. Last month, Abu Tir and three other Hamas-affiliated elected members of the PLC were ordered to surrender their Jerusalem residency cards to the Israeli police.

Maybe if he had stayed at home, in his village, he would have been left alone?

If he is brought before a court on Thursday, maybe he will at least be able to get clarification of where he’s allowed to be — and where he is banned.

Continue reading East Jerusalem parliamentarian arrested, facing "deportation"