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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Hamas leader's three sisters live secretly in Israel as full citizens

Here's a surprising story from Friday's London Daily Telegraph that I have not seen reported elsewhere:

Hamas leader and 'Palestinian Authority Prime Minister' Ismail Haniyeh has three sisters who live in Israel. And - no surprises here - the three sisters are full Israeli citizens, who moved thirty years ago to the town of Tel Sheva.

According to the Telegraph, who tracked down the sisters, some of their children have even served in the IDF.

Tel Sheva, where the sisters live, is a town in the Negev that is inhabited mainly by Israeli Beduin. The fact that the sisters live there is - according to the Telegraph - a closely guraded secret.

The Telegraph tells how the sisters came to live in Israel:
A member of the clan, Yousef Abu Ruqia, 50, who works as secretary in the municipal council, explained how the Haniyeh sisters came to Tel Sheva.

"In a small community like ours there were not enough women to go round, so some of the men would go and look for wives elsewhere,'' he said.

"The Haniyeh sisters were Palestinians living in Gaza. Back then it was possible for people to visit Gaza easily [because Gaza was part of Israel CiJ], so Kholidia was the first to be married and move to Tel Sheva, and then Laila and then Sabah.''

He said he remembered the time, 25 years ago, when their younger brother, Ismail, would come to visit his sisters.

"There was another brother, Khaled, who came here to work laying tiles and each year, at the holiday after Ramadan, Ismail would come and visit his brother and sisters."

The Telegraph points out that the recent Supreme Court decision forbidding 'Palestinians' under certain ages from living with their spouses in Israel would have prevented the Haniyeh sisters from moving here had it been in effect thirty years ago. Of course, thirty years ago, we did not have quite the fear of terrorism that we have today.

Two of the three sisters, Laila and Sabah are both widows but remain in Tel Sheva, apparently because they are reluctant to give up their Israeli citizenship (imagine that: they wouldn't rather be citizens of Hamastan). It is not known when the Haniyeh sisters last had contact with their brother. As he is a Hamas prime minister, contact with him could, under Israeli law, be illegal.


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