Likud MK Amir Ohana's bill giving the interior minister the power to revoke the permanent residency of people convicted of security offenses was approved for a preliminary reading Sunday by the Knesset's Ministerial Committee for Legislation.
Should the bill be voted into law, The interior minister will be able to revoke permanent residency, following the High Court's ruling from earlier this year that struck down an 11-year-old decision by former Interior Minister Roni Bar-On to revoke the residency permits of four east Jerusalem Arabs following their election to the Palestinian parliament as representatives of Hamas.
Khaled Abu-Arfa, Muhammad Abu-Tir, Muhammad Umran Tuttah and Ahmed Muhammad A-Tun were elected to the Palestinian parliament representing Hamas in January 2006.
MK Ohana commented on the bill's passage, saying, "I was of the opinion the law enabled the interior minister to (revoke residency permits) even before, and that the High Court should not have intervened in previous interior ministers' decisions, but since it has decided to do so anyway, I searched and found the solution allowing the State of Israel to impose the sanctions it so sorely needs vis-à-vis Hamas operatives."
"It is inconceivable for them to remain living here and enjoying the Israeli taxpayers' money," Ohana added, "when they're calling for their deaths. Jerusalem may have justices (referencing former Prime Minister Menachem Begin's famous quote—ed), but it also has legislators."
The High Court's original decision came in 2006, when Bar-On decided to revoke the four's status as residents on the grounds of "breach of trust."