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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Rooting Out Evil

The furor continues over yesterday's meeting between three Arab-Israeli MK's and a Jerusalem-resident Hamas cabinet minister. In reaction to Monday's suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel revoked the Jerusalem residency rights of the minister, Sheikh Muhammad Abu Tir, and those of three other 'Palestinian legislators,' including MK Sheikh Ibrahim Sarsour and MK Sheikh Abbas Zakour.

The Hamas members are considering appealing the revocation to (where else) Israel's 'High Court of Justice,' which as I have told you in the past, does not know the meaning of the terms "political question" or "non-justiciable."

Palestinian Justice Minister Ahmed Khaldi said that the Palestinian government would back the four Hamas legislators in their legal battle against Israel, in part because of what he said were Palestinian concerns that Israel was trying to establish a precedent and strip more Jerusalem Palestinians of their residency rights.

Gideon Meir, a senior Israeli Foreign Ministry official, brushed aside those concerns.

"There is one reason (for revoking the residency rights), and that reason is terrorism," Meir said. "Someone who is involved in terrorist attacks has to take the consequences." Meir, however, may be mistaken.

"Once they (Israeli authorities) inform us officially of their decision, we are going to appeal to the (Israeli) Supreme Court," said one of the Hamas lawmakers from Jerusalem, Mohammed Abu Tir. "If needed, we will also go to the International Court of Justice, and we are going to ask the Arab and Islamic countries to appeal to the international community to abort this decision." Does anyone else find it curious that Hamas is so upset about Israeli residency rights being revoked that they are going to petition Israel's high court to reverse the decision?

But as I said, Gideon Meir may be mistaken if he thinks that no more Hamas members' residency rights are going to be revoked. The Jerusalem Post reports this morning that the government is considering revoking the Jerusalem residency rights of other known Hamas members or even PA workers living in the city.

Foreign Minister Tzippi Livni, who proposed revoking the residency of the Hamas legislators, also persuaded Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and fellow ministers Shaul Mofaz (Defense) and Gideon Ezra (Internal Security) not to adopt the defense establishment's recommendation to declare the PA an "enemy entity," but rather to continue with its characterization as a "hostile entity."

"We don't want to disqualify the entire PA and completely close the door on it," one senior official said. "There are international legal implications in such a declaration, including closing off the border crossings, that we don't want to do yet."

The decision to revoke the Jerusalem residency of the four Hamas leaders means that those affected would no longer be able to receive National Insurance Institute payments and would be barred from entering the capital. In plain English - for those who are not Israelis - this means that until now the Hamas leaders were receiving a monthly allowance from the Israeli government based upon the number of their children under the age of 16. It also means that they were entitled to disability payments in the event that they were disabled, that their wives were entitled to three months of pay in the event that they gave birth, and that they were entitled to a minimum level of income in the event that they had no (declared) outside sources of income. What a country we live in! The 'senior official' said that the decision was taken to send a signal to Hamas leaders.

"They can't have it both ways," he said. "If they are part of a government that doesn't renounce terrorism, recognize Israel or accept previous agreements, there will be a price to pay."

He acknowledged that this one measure would't bring Hamas to its knees, but said "it could make life for them more difficult, and it will show them that there are personal consequences for their actions."

If it isn't reversed by Israel's LLL 'Supreme Court.'


At 11:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're on top of this. So I ask you, have conspiracy theorists already given us some reasons for Hamas' imminent implosion, and what will follow the implosion?

At 5:33 PM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

Not that I have seen.


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