Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Court offers Hamas parliamentarian Abu Tir a choice between expulsion or jail

Mohammed Abu Tir in court. (Photo Noam Moskowitz YNet).

The Jerusalem Magistrates' Court on Wednesday gave a ruling on the case of Mohammad Abu Tir, member of the Palestinian parliament for Hamas, in which it offered him a real develish choice. The Hamas parliamentarian, who was born and lives in the district Abu Tor of East Jerusalem, will either be expelled from Israel or remain in jail. If he accepts to be expelled, which taes effect on Sunday.,  he has to sign a paper that he will not return to Israel and to make a deposit of 50.000 shekels (about $ 13.000). If he remains in jail he has to pay considerable sums as well.

Abu Tir was arrested in 2006, together with about 60 other Hamas officials, after Hamas in Gaza had taken the Israeli corporal Gilad prisoner. Abu Tir's residence permit for Jerusalem was taken from him and he served four years in prison, from which he was released in May. Shortly thereafter he was arrested and at the beginning of the month, an indictment was filed against Abu Tir in the Jerusalem Magistrates' Court for remaining in Israel illegally. According to YNet Israel offered him during his years in jail to renounce his political activity and quit Hamas in exchange for which he would be permitted to return to Jerusalem. Abu Tir alledgedly refused this.
The deportation of someone who was born and lived in Jerusalem for political reasons has hitherto never occurred and is therefor a precedent It is also completely illegal. East Jerusalem is occupied territory under international law and the Geneva Conventions forbid to expel inhabitants of occupied lands. Three other members of the parliament for Hamas who await a similar verdict, are holding a protest demonstration in a tent in East Jerusalem

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