The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) condemns an Israeli
decision to cancel the permanent residence in occupied Jerusalem of four members
of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), from the Change and Reform Bloc
affiliated to Hamas, and to expel them from the city to the West Bank. The four PLC Members are: Mohammed Abu Tair;
Ahmed ‘Atwan; Mohammed Toutah; and Eng. Khaled Abu ‘Arafa. All four became PLC
Members following the January 2006 Palestinian legislative elections.
The four PLC Members were arrested by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) following
the capture of an Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, in the Gaza Strip in
2006. They were released after serving
their prison sentences. The cancellation
of their permanent residence was based on a decision by former Israeli Interior
Minister, Ron Bar’oun, under allegations of "breaking loyalty to the
state" and participating in the Palestinian legislative elections.
On 11 September 2009, the four PLC Members, represented by Attorney
Hassan Jabarin, filed a petition at the Israeli High Court against the Israeli
Interior Minister’s decision. The Court
held several hearing sessions, but did not take any action. The former Israeli Attorney-General, Mini
Mazoz, stated that he would support the decision to cancel the permanent
residence of the four Jerusalemites, claiming that "three of them are
members of an organization that is defined in Israel as a terrorist one, and
they are members of the leadership of a non-Israeli political entity."
The four Jerusalemites are:
1) Ahmed Mohammed Ahmed
‘Atwan, 42, from Sour Baher village south of Jerusalem; a PLC Member who was
arrested on 09 June 2006 and was imprisoned for 40 months. Following his release, he was summoned by the
Israeli police and told that his permanent residence was cancelled; he was
given a temporary residence permit that will expire on 03 July 2010.
2) Mohammed Mahmoud
Hassan Abu Tair, 54, from Um Touba village south of Jerusalem; a PLC Member who
was arrested on 09 June 2006 and was imprisoned for 43 months. Following his release on 20 May 2010, he was summoned
by the Israeli police
and told that his permanent
residence was cancelled and was given a temporary residence permit that expire
on 03 July 2010.
3) Mohammed ‘Omran Saleh
Toutah, 41, from Wad al-Jouz neighborhood in Jerusalem, who was arrested on 29
January 2007 and was imprisoned for 42 months. Following his release on 02 June 2010, he was summoned by the Israeli
police and told that his permanent residence was cancelled; he was given a
temporary residence permit that expire on 03 July 2010.
4) Khaled Abu ‘Arafa, 49,
former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs in the Hamas-led government formed in
2006. He was arrested on 29 June 2006 and was imprisoned for 28 months, until
being released on 27 September 2008. In
addition, he was also sentenced to a 15-month suspended imprisonment and a bail
of 7,000 NIS. He was summoned by the
Israeli police and told that his permanent residence was cancelled and was
given a temporary residence permit that expire on 03 July 2010.
PCHR condemns the Israeli decision to expel the four Palestinian
figures, which constitutes a form of forcible transfer of protected persons, an
action that is prohibited under article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to
stop illegal actions of transfer and discrimination practices against the
population of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including these new
illegal measures. PCHR further reminds
the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions of their obligation to
ensure respect for the Conventions in all circumstances. Immediate action must be taken if the
international community seeks to prevent the escalation of criminals policies
adopted by Israel in the OPT.