Hamas Leaders Denied Reinstatement

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit turned down a request by four senior Hamas members to reissue their Israeli identity cards.

The four men were arrested at the end of June 2006, days after the kidnapping of Israel Defense Forces Corporal Gilad Shalit.

The Israeli government blamed Hamas for the cross-border attack in which two soldiers were killed, three wounded and Shalit abducted.

At the time, all four men were serving in the Palestinian parliament.

Mohammed Abu Tir, with his long history of involvement in terror attacks, was Hamas's deputy prime minister. Khaled Abu Arafa served as minister for Jerusalem affairs, and Mohammed Totach and Ahmed Aden were legislators.

Then-Interior Minister Roni Bar-On revoked their Israeli residency.

"The right to hold permanent residency comes with the duty to show loyalty to the State of Israel," Bar-On said at the time.

"Hamas is a hostile organization. People who have roles in the legislative council and the Hamas government have no place in the State of Israel," he said.

In the petition, the men's attorney argued that since none of the four served in the Palestinian legislature anymore, their residency status should be reinstated and identity cards reissued.

"Being residents of Jerusalem means more to my clients than any other role," their attorney said.

"They have effectively ceased to be members of the Palestinian parliament since their arrest, and we ask that their status be reinstated," he said.

Meetings with officials from the Justice Ministry and Shin Bet (General Security Agency) confirmed that all four are active members of Hamas, convincing Sheetrit to reject reinstatement of Israeli residency status.

"Since the plaintiffs are high-profile members of the Hamas terror organization, which has a declared goal of fighting Israel, they are in breach of their mandatory fidelity to the State," the ministry response read.

"Since they have not informed us of their intention to resign from the Palestinian National Council, we find know grounds to grant their motion," the ministry stated.

Source: YNet news

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