Will High Court back Hamas? Four senior Hamas members plan to appeal Israel's decision to revoke their Jerusalem residency rights to Israel's Supreme Court, the Palestinian justice minister said Wednesday.
Israel decided Tuesday to strip three Hamas legislators and a cabinet minister of their Israeli-issued identity cards, which grant them permanent residency in Jerusalem and freedom of movement in Israel.
The decision - an unprecedented punishment - came after the Palestinians' new Hamas government refused to denounce a suicide bombing earlier this week by the Islamic Jihad. The bombing outside a Tel Aviv fast food restaurant killed nine civilians and wounded dozens. On Wednesday evening four Arab members of Israel's parliament, or Knesset, met with the four Hamas officials in a show of solidarity.
"These are people who live in east Jerusalem. You can't take them away from their land," Said Ibrahim Sarsoor, head of the National Arab List-Ta'al party.
Palestinian Justice Minister Ahmed Khaldi said 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."
Khaldi, however, said he believed the four have a strong case.
"Israel cannot prove that they were involved in any action that violated the law," he said.
"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."