The Jerusalem District Court on Thursday convicted two Hamas politicians who were holed up in the east Jerusalem Red Cross office for a year and a half of membership in a terrorist organization and illegally residing in Israel.
The two men, Khaled Abu-Arafa and Muhammad Totah, were arrested on January 23, 2012 after spending 569 days living in the International Red Cross Office in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Abu-Arafa and Totah were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council as representatives of Hamas in 2006. The same day, then-Interior Minister Ron Bar-On revoked the men’s Jerusalem residency based on their membership in a terrorist organization. After protracted court hearings as the politicians attempted to appeal the decision, the High Court of Justice denied them residency for the final time on June 20, 2010.
Fearing that their arrest and expulsion from Jerusalem was imminent, they informed the Red Cross that they wished to hold a sit-in protest on the premises to draw attention to their situation.