Orange-bearded leader says he's being evicted from J'lem.
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
Hamas legislator Muhammed Abu Tir, who was released on Thursday from prison after serving a 43-month sentence, said that the Jerusalem Police summoned him later Thursday and informed him that he would not be allowed to remain in the city.Abu Tir, a resident of Sur Bahir, a village located within the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem, claimed that the police informed him that he had lost his status as a permanent resident of the city because of his membership in Hamas.Abu Tir, who is famous for his red beard, was arrested together with dozens of Hamas officials and activists in Jerusalem and the West Bank shortly after the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.Since then, he and other Hamas legislators from Jerusalem have had their Israeli-issued ID cards revoked – a measure that means that they would no longer be able to continue living in their homes in the city.Abu Tir told supporters and reporters outside his home that the arrest of the Hamas members and legislators by Israel was an attempt to “blackmail us and keep us away from Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque.”He also claimed that the clampdown on Hamas was in response to the “landslide victory of Hamas in the January 2006 parliamentary election.”He said that despite the crackdown, he and his colleagues would not be deterred “and would never succumb to the occupier and its policies.”AdvertisementHe added that he and the Hamas representatives in Jerusalem paid a price for being elected by a majority of voters in Jerusalem.“We were arrested because we won the confidence of a majority of Jerusalemites,” he said. “We have paid the price and we have no regrets.”Abu Tir said that although he and his friends were arrested in connection with the Schalit kidnapping, they spent many months in detention without facing any charges.“In the end, the Israeli authorities accused us of membership in the Change and Reform list, which belongs to Hamas,” he noted. “The Israeli authorities and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah had back then approved the participation of our list in the election.”He denied that his release was part of any deal related to Schalit.“I was released after I completed my term in prison, which was 43 months,” he said.Abu Tir was first arrested in 1974 and sentenced to 16 years in prison for security-related offenses. He was released 13 years later.In 1989 he was arrested for a second time, this time on charges of possession of weapons. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison.Between 1990 and 2005 he spent eight years in prison on charges of membership in the armed wing of Hamas and trading in weapons.