At this very moment, four Hamas parliament leaders – Khaled Abu Arafa, Muhammad Abu Tir, Mohammed Totah and Ahmed Atoun – are living comfortably in Jerusalem.
In June 2006, the four accepted positions in Hamas’s newly-formed “parliament” in Gaza. Then-Interior Minister Roni Bar-On gave them the opportunity to renounce their positions, but when they refused to do so he revoked their permits, arguing the men could not remain residents of Israel while serving as key members of a group committed to the destruction of the country and genocide of its people. All subsequent interior ministers have maintained that position.
The move was meant to pave the way for the Hamas officials to be expelled from the capital, as well as to have the men stripped of their Israeli ID cards and their benefits, including social security, national health insurance and freedom of movement throughout the country. But the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) launched an appeal against their expulsion, which has dragged on for more than eight years, and has been fought by both the government and Shurat HaDin.
The ruling could set an important precedent for how the State handles future attacks, amid waves of terrorism rocking Jerusalem and Israel at large, and after current Interior Minister Gilad Erdan revoked the permanent residency of at least one terrorist last month. But that case was more difficult to appeal, since that terrorist was directly involved in the murder of Israeli citizens, whereas the four Hamas officials in question are only “political” leaders whose role in terrorism is more indirect – though still a clear danger to national security.
An expanded panel of nine justices will deliver a verdict Tuesday.
If the terrorists’ appeal is accepted, this would practically cancel the government’s ability to revoke Israeli residency permits of Arabs from eastern Jerusalem, who are involved in terror.
Read our press release on this case.