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?

Travel ban on Palestinian map expert in Jerusalem extended for another 6 months + Abu Tir court hearing against deportation from Jerusalem postponed to 8 December

Palestinian map expert Khalil Tufakji has reported that he was summoned to the Russian Compound in West Jerusalem on Tuesday to be informed that the travel ban imposed on him six months ago, would be extended for another six months.

This time, however, Tufakji indicated he intends to appeal the decision. The Israeli human rights organization Adalah (the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel) will file the appeal on his behalf.

The story was reported here.

Meanwhile, the court hearing for Mohammad Abu Tir a Hamas-affiiated member of the now-expired Palestinian Legislative Council who was arrested after having served over four years in Israeli prison for his electoral victory and is now fighting a deportation order from “Jerusalem” (however that is defined – his home is in Sur Baher) has been deferred until 8 December. This is reported here/

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?

From the frying pan into the fire? Abu Tir deportation trial continued until 12 July

An Israeli court on Sunday continued the detention of Hamas-affiliated East Jerusalem politician Mohammad Abu Tir for another week, until Monday 12 July.

On the basis of a “deportation” order pending since 2006, Israeli Police took Abu Tir’s Permanent Residence ID card soon after he was released from jail in May, after serving a more-than-four-year sentence following his election to the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) on the Hamas-backed Change and Reform Party ticket.

Three other East Jerusalem Palestinian parliamentarians, elected on the Hamas-backed ticket in 2006, are also under Israeli “deportation” orders — Ahmad Atoun, Mohammad Totah, and Khaled Abu Arafeh. News reports indicate that the Israeli Police have called their families, looking for them. Meanwhile, at least two if not all three have been participating in a public sit-in in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) office in East Jerusalem, protesting the “deportation” orders.

Israel contends that East Jerusalem Palestinian politicians who serve in the PLC — at least, those on the Hamas-affiliated ticket — are “disloyal” to the State of Israel.

[Meanwhile, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad — appointed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to head an Emergency Government post in June 2007, in the wake of a crisis which saw Hamas expel Fatah/Palestinian Preventive Security forces in Gaza — is a permanent resident of East Jerusalem without any problem…]

Abu Tir was arrested last week while driving in a Jewish neighborhood of East Jerusalem near his home of Um Tubas (Sur Bahr) — and jailed for not having a valid ID card.

He is accused of “illegal entry into the State of Israel”.

Abu Tir and his three colleagues want to stay in Jerusalem for reasons of normal human emotions. They are also taking a political stand in favor of Palestinian national rights.

YNet reported that Abu Tir said in court last Thursday: “I am prepared to do anything in order to stay in Jerusalem”. According to YNet, Abu-Tir “refused the imprisonment alternative offered him by which he would be banished from Israel and NIS 100,000 (about $25,700) bail be posted that he not return to the area within the Green Line”. YNet added that “Abu-Tir’s lawyer, Attorney Osama Saadi, explained that he contacted the interior minister last week on behalf of his client and three other civilians whose permanent resident status has also been revoked. According to him, they asked that a letter be sent regarding talks ‘on the highest levels between the Palestinian Authority and the State of Israel’. ‘We believe that the decision is not a legal one, but a political one’, said Saadi. He also asked for another opportunity to settle the matter out of court”. This is published here.

If these East Jerusalem politicians are deported to the West Bank — where an adamantly anti-Hamas campaign has been underway for years — they will not be in a comfortable situation.

In fact, they would be going from the frying pan into the fire…

But these pending “deportations, like a number of other “provocative” and “unhelpful” measures, particularly in East Jerusalem, appear to be on hold pending Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s visit to Washington this week. He is due to meet U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

Deportation is an explicit violation of the Road Map backed by the U.S. and the Quartet of Middle East negotiators (U.S., Europe, Russia, and UN). The Road Map has also been endorsed in UN Security Council resolution 1515 of November 200.

Continue reading From the frying pan into the fire? Abu Tir deportation trial continued until 12 July

Hamas-affiliated East Jerusalem politician jailed, not "deported" — yet

East Jerusalem’s elected politician Mohammad Abu Tir was not summarily dumped on the other side of Qalandia Checkpoint (going to the West Bank) nor in front of Erez Terminal (leading to Gaza) after his arrest on Thursday in [Greater Municipal] Jerusalem. Instead, he was jailed pending an Israeli court hearing on Friday.

UPDATE: The Friday court hearing has been postponed until Sunday (and may well be postponed again…)

Three other Palestinian politicians whose “permanent resident” IDs have also been withdrawn by the Israeli police in recent weeks are Mohammed Totah, Khaled Abu Arafa, and Ahmed Atoun.

Their “crimes” were to have been elected to the Palestine Legislative Council (PLC) on the Hamas’ Change and Reform party platform in January 2006 elections. To general surprise, Hamas won a majority of seats in the PLC in elections it had to be coaxed into contesting. Hamas won in both Gaza AND the West Bank.

The four have made statements saying that they only represent their constituents in East Jerusalem, but for Israel this seems not to be enough. Israeli officials have indicated that they want a clear and unambiguous renunciation of Hamas.

The other three men now have a Saturday deadline to leave “Jerusalem” voluntarily.

One of the new charges against Abu Tir now, in fact, is that he was apprehended while trying to enter the State of Israel without a proper ID.

Continue reading Hamas-affiliated East Jerusalem politician jailed, not "deported" — yet

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"

"Deportation" deadline for Hamas' Mohammed Abu Tir

The imprecision of the language is infuriating.

Israeli police reportedly notified the duly elected Hamas representative to the moribund Palestine Legislative Council (PLC), Mohammed Abu Tir (Teir) that he faces a “deportation” deadline of Friday [tomorrow] from his home in East Jerusalem.r

Abu Tir lives in Sur Bahr, a neighborhood in south-eastern Jerusalem and Bethlehem, where the West Bank is just across the street — but behind barbed wire, watched by Israeli Border Police in a tall concrete tower, where Jerusalem residents must pass through a guarded checkpoint to go back and forth.

So, “Deportation” from East Jerusalem — to where?

To Gaza? To the West Bank? To the Galilee (Israel)? To Europe?

Continue reading "Deportation" deadline for Hamas' Mohammed Abu Tir