Hamas 4 311.
(photo credit: AP)
Israel has agreed to reconsider its decision to deport four Hamas lawmakers from
Jerusalem if they declare that they do not represent the radical Islamist
movement and sever their ties to it, an Israeli security official told The
Jerusalem Post on Monday.
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The four men are Palestinian Legislative
Council members Mahmoud Abu Tir, Ahmed Attoun, Mohammed Totah and Khaled Abu
Arafeh. Abu Arafeh is also a former Palestinian Authority cabinet
They have reportedly accepted the Israeli condition and are now
willing to make a public statement in this regard so that they can stay in
The Jerusalem Police confiscated their Israeli ID cards after
the Interior Ministry revoked their status as permanent residents of the city,
paving the way for their expulsion.
The Israeli security official
explained that the decision to reconsider the deportations had largely
designed to boost the standing of PA President Mahmoud Abbas and
“The Hamas officials have apparently chosen to stay in Jerusalem
with their families and enjoy all privileges as residents of Israel,”
official told the Post. “Their readiness to distance themselves from
Hamas is an
important step that could lead to the cancellation of the
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Deportation will be canceled once four sign statement
He added that the decision to deport the four men would be
canceled once they sign a statement disowning Hamas.
“We want an
unambiguous statement that leaves no room for double-talk,” he said. “We
send a message to the Palestinians that if they renounce Hamas and
they stand to benefit.”
Abu Tir, who was recently released from an
Israeli prison after serving a 50-month-sentence, was instructed by the
Jerusalem Police to leave the city by midnight last Friday.
deportation was postponed at the last minute following the intervention
Abbas, the US administration and the European Union.
Last week, in an
unprecedented move, Abbas twice summoned the Hamas lawmakers to his
Ramallah and urged them to accept Israel’s condition and announce that
not represent Hamas. Following the meetings, the legislators told
they represented their voters in Jerusalem and not Hamas or any other
The three backbenchers were on Hamas’s Change and Reform
list, which contested and won the January 2006 parliamentary
The fourth official, Abu Arafeh, was appointed minister for
Jerusalem affairs in the Hamas government.
They were all arrested by the
IDF following the abduction of soldier Gilad Schalit, but have since
The Israeli decision to rescind their permanent residency
status in Jerusalem drew condemnations from both Hamas and the PA
The Palestinians fear that the decision could pave the way for the
many other Palestinians from the city.
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