Weapons found in Fatah stronghold in Gaza
Photo: Reuters
Fleeing Palestinians enter Israel
Photo: Tsafrir Abayov

Rights group: Don't send fleeing Palestinians back to Gaza

Israeli civil rights group petitions High Court to prevent State from sending Hilles-more clan members back to Hamas-controlled Strip, saying act ' breach of Israeli law and human morality'

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) filed a petition with the High Court of Justice Sunday demanding that it prevent the State from sending dozens of Palestinians who fled Gaza following fierce clashes with Hamas back to the Strip.


On Saturday 188 Palestinians were allowed entry into Israel after Hamas took over a stronghold of the Fatah-affiliated Hilles clan in Gaza City's Sajaiyeh neighborhood. At least 11 people were killed and dozens more were injured during the infighting.


Thirty-two of the Palestinians who had requested political asylum in Israel have already been sent back to Gaza, while the rest are expected to return within the next 24 hours.


In the petition, ACRI Attorney Oded Feller said the lives of those who are being sent back to Gaza is at risk, adding that sending back people who request political asylum to the place they had escaped from constitutes "one of the most severe human rights violations and is a breach of Israeli law and human morality".


Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas refused to grant asylum to the Hilles clan members. According to Hamas, of the 32 Palestinians sent back to Gaza only five remain in custody. The Palestinian Authority said only three people, including clan head Ahmed Hilles, will be granted asylum in the West Bank. Hilles was injured in the clashes with Hamas and is currently being treated at an Israeli hospital.


"As far as I am concerned, I'm going back to the Strip from here, but the issues and circumstances are not only controlled by me," Hilles told Ynet. "I am with the Israelis and don't know what will be decided yet, but as far as we are concerned, we are headed to the Strip.


"We won't give up on our people in the Strip. Hamas knows it will pay a price for the blood spilt, and therefore it is doing everything in order to disrupt any possibility of a dialogue," he said. "Hamas has removed itself from the circle of national Palestinian organizations with its violent approach which spills the Palestinian people's blood." 


פרסום ראשון: 08.03.08, 20:05
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