Israel considers stripping residency from Palestinian lawmakers from Hamas


By Middle East Affairs

Israel is considering stripping permanent residency from 12 East Jerusalem Palestinians for their involvement in terrorist activity, four of which are members of the Palestinian parliament, Haaretz reports.

There’s a new law in Israel that allows the interior minister to strip residency rights from any permanent resident if he or she is involved in terrorism or acts against Israel.

It was passed in response to a court ruling in September that Haaretz said “overturned a decision from more than a decade ago to strip the four parliamentarians of their permanent residency.” The four men are Mohammed Abu Tir, Ahmed Atoun, Mohammed Totah and Khaled Abu Arafeh, which all hold key roles in Hamas.

Haaretz said Interior Minister Arye Dery is considering revoking the residency of Mohammed Abu Kef, Walid Atrash and Abed Dawiat for killing an Israeli when they stoned his car in Jerusalem in 2015, as well as that of Bilal Abu Ghanem, who killed three Israelis in a bus attack in Jerusalem in 2015.

Ayil Qassam, Asem Abbasi, Mohammed Odeh and Ali Abbasi are on the list, too, Haaretz reports, because they were involved in several terror attacks, such as a bombing in a cafe in 2002 that killed 11 Israelis.

“Murdering Israelis and involvement in attacks against civilians is the gravest possible breach of faith between a resident and his country,” the news agency quoted Dery as saying. “The same goes for active, significant involvement in terrorist organizations. Residents and citizens who endanger the Israeli public and constitute a threat to its safety should know that their status is in danger, on top of the other penalties laid down by law. I will work with all my might and all the means at my disposal to fight terrorists and anyone who’s involved in or abets terror.”

Haaretz reports that Attorney Osama Saadi, who represents the four Hamas parliamentarians, said, “The amendment in question is unconstitutional, and even the attorney general opposed it. Moreover, the law states that in any case, it’s not possible to revoke the residency of East Jerusalem residents, who have a special status, and leave them without any residency.

“We will petition the High Court on behalf of these four, who, as you’ll recall, have been waging a legal battle against the revocation of their residency since 2006 and won their petition a few months ago,” he added. “This amendment violates international law, and wholesale revocations, such as are happening today, show that this is a political law by a crazy government.”

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