Israeli Arab group eager to represent east J'lem Hamas leaders

Security authorities have so far barred Hassan Jabarin, 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human rights organization Adalah, from meeting with the four Hamas politicians whose east Jerusalem residency status was revoked over the weekend, Jabarin told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.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 Muhammad Abu Tir, 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 lawmakers 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."