In 2006, the Israeli Ministry of the Interior ordered four senior Hamas leaders who had been living in Jerusalem to be expelled from the country. The four members of the Islamic terrorist organization, had been elected as Hamas representatives to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) that January. Israel gave them 30 days to either resign from the PLC or be deported. Predictably, the terrorists, Mohamed Abu Tir, Ahmed Attoun, Mohammed Totah and Khaled Abu Arafeh, scampered off to petition Israel’s High Court to appeal the deportation orders. They claimed they had been born in Jerusalem and despite their leadership positions in Hamas, they could not be deported as Israeli law was not controlling in occupied East Jerusalem.
Shurat HaDin filed a motion to the High Court and was granted the right to join the case on the side of the government which was seeking to drive the terrorists from Israel’s capital.
Shortly after the deportation order was given, however, IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was kidnapped in Gaza and Israel placed the four Hamas leaders and others in jail. In a hearing before the High Court, the four argued that they should not be deported because as incarcerated prisoners, de facto, they do not fulfill any official position in the PLC on behalf of Hamas.
In the light of these new circumstances, the High Court suggested to the terrorists to reapply to the Ministry of the Interior for their residency. The Ministry, however, rejected their request. The High Court set a new hearing on the matter for September.
On May 20, 2010 the four were freed from prison. They were told by Israeli authorities that they now had one month to leave Jerusalem. Last week, the four brought a motion for a restraining order barring Israel from deporting them until the next High Court hearing in September. The Government then offered the terrorist an opportunity to stay in Israel until the September hearing provided that they renounce their positions in the PLC, recognize the State of Israel and vow not to work on behalf of Hamas. Shurat HaDin vehemently opposed the Government’s offer to the four.
The High Court denied their motion and, in any event, the terrorists refused to sign the renunciation. Yesterday, the Israeli police arrested the four for violating the deportation orders.
In September, Shurat HaDin will demand that the High Court expel these Hamas terrorists once and for all. This drama has stretched out long enough.