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interior minister last week on behalf of his client and three other civilians whose permanent resident status has also been revoked.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.