Israel keeps counsel from Hamas MPs

Attorney barred from meeting with clients whose residency was revoked.

abu teir 88 (photo credit: )
abu teir 88
(photo credit: )
Security authorities have so far barred Hassan Jabarin, the director-general of the Israeli Arab human rights organization Adalah, from meeting with the four Hamas politicians whose east Jerusalem residency status was revoked over the weekend, Jabarin told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday. Jabarin said that two weeks ago, after Interior Minister Roni Bar-On announced that he would revoke their status, the Adalah attorney met with the four and was hired to represent them in their legal fight against the move. The four politicians are Mohammad Abu Teir, Ahmed Abu Atoun, Khaled Abu Arafa and Mahmoud Totah. The decision to revoke their permanent residency status was made in April after a terrorist attack in Tel Aviv, which some Hamas leaders defended as being a legitimate act. Jabarin said he wanted to talk to his clients again before submitting a petition against the revocation since the fact that so many other West Bank Hamas had been arrested along with them in the meantime may have changed their minds. All the detainees, including the four east Jerusalem residents, are being held in Ofer Military Prison. Israel arrested the four according to military law and announced that it would try them in a West Bank military court even before revoking their permanent residency status. Interior Ministry Roni Bar-On was authorized to strip the four of their residency status in accordance with the Entry to Israel Law. The law does not specify on what grounds the Interior Ministry may make such a decision, stating only that he may do so "according to his own considerations." Despite the carte blanche the law seems to afford, the Interior Minister, like all public servants, is bound by the principles of public law, which call for administrative decisions to be reasonable and proportional. According to the military law by which the Hamas leaders were arrested, they may be prevented from seeing a lawyer for as long as 90 days. Jabarin said this provision had not been invoked so far, and that the army had explained that it could not allow visits yet because they had been flooded with such requests from attorneys representing the 60 Hamas leaders who have been detained.