4 Hamas members lose resident status

Lawmakers live in east Jerusalem, but bent on Israel's destruction, state says.

hamas lawmakers, includi (photo credit: AP [file])
hamas lawmakers, includi
(photo credit: AP [file])
Interior Minister Roni Bar-On stripped three Hamas legislators and a Hamas minister of their Israeli residency status, even though they live in east Jerusalem, because they refused to resign their political posts in the Palestinian Authority cabinet, the state told the High Court of Justice on Wednesday. The state was replying to a petition submitted by the four Hamas representatives - Muhammad Abu Tir, Ahmed Abu Atoun and Khaled Abu Arafa and Minister for Jerusalem Affairs in the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Tota - in which they demanded that their Israeli residency status be reinstated. From the moment their residency status was withdrawn, the four legislators were designated "illegal sojourners" and could therefore be expelled from the city. On June 29, following the kidnapping of IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit by Hamas operatives, three of the four were arrested and jailed along with dozens of other Hamas legislators, PA ministers and activists living in the West Bank. Tota was abroad at the time of the arrests. The hearing on the petition is scheduled for Monday. In their response, the state's representatives, Gilad Shirman and Yochi Gnessin, stated that Abu Tir, Abu Atoun, Abu Arafa, and Tota were not only members of an organization that called for Israel's destruction, but - as legislators - were charged with doing everything they could to advance their party's platform. "The petitioners," wrote Shirman and Gnessin, "as representatives of the terrorist organization Hamas in the government and house of representatives of a hostile foreign entity, expect and believe that they are entitled to enjoy all the benefits and privileges that the State of Israel bestows upon its residents without being reciprocally obliged in any way. We will argue that this is unacceptable. The petitioners seek to hold their Israeli identity cards in one hand, while aiming a gun at Israel with the other."