Taking away residency of Hamas men is fair, state tells court

State says briefs submitted to the High Court are full of legal and logical flaws.

The arguments of two human rights groups against revoking the permanent residency permit of three east Jerusalem Hamas legislators and a Hamas minister are full of legal and logical flaws, the state declared in a response presented Wednesday to the High Court of Justice. The state was replying to a brief submitted earlier this month by The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel against its decision to revoke the residency rights of the four Hamas representatives. The petition was submitted by Khaled Abu Arfa, Muhammad Abu Tir, Mahmoud Totah and Ahmed Abu Atoun. The two human rights groups submitted their brief in the capacity of amicus curiae (friend of the court.) The state said in its response that "ACRI and Adalah are not troubled by the possibility that a prime minister, minister or member of parliament belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization might give orders to fire Kassam rockets at Sderot (or support such a move in parliament), give orders not to release Gilat Schalit, give orders to kill as many Israelis as possible in accordance with the spirit of the Hamas covenant, while, at the same time, bearing a permanent residency permit in Israel giving him the right to National Insurance Institute stipends as well as full freedom of movement within Israel which enables him to continue endangering the lives of its citizens with greater ease?" The state continued that "the approach of Acri and Adalah is absurd [and] lacks any moral basis." One of the arguments raised by the two human rights groups was that the right of the four Palestinians not to be expelled from Jerusalem was based on the fact that they had been born there. As such, they should not be regarded as having obtained permanent residency status according to the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which includes a provision allowing the state to revoke their status in certain, extreme, conditions. The state denied the argument and referred to a previous High Court decision that determined that Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem who are not Israeli citizens and do not have the obligations of Israeli citizens should be treated like all other legal non-citizen residents. Just as they may have their right revoked in certain circumstances, so may those of east Jerusalem Palestinians. The state maintained that the fact that the four politicians were elected as representatives of an organization devoted to Israel's destruction was justified reason for revoking their permanent residency right.