JERUSALEM, July 4 (JMCC) - Hamas
legislative official Mohammed Abu Tir was remanded for the second time on Sunday in Jerusalem
. The judge lengthened his arrest until the court reconvenes on July 12.
Fadi Kawasmi, a lawyer of Abu Tir, said this was a positive outcome as it opens up time for further negotiation. “It gives us the opportunity to speak further with the prosecution to discuss their terms and conditions,” he said.
“We have submitted a request to the ministry of the interior to rethink its decision” said Kawasmi. “It is too early to say what the outcome will be, but I am not optimistic,” he added.
The prosecution is to outline a number of conditions that, if complied with, will allow Abu Tir to remain.
“The Israeli authorities want him to declare that he is not a member of Hamas,” announced Shmulik Ben Ruby, spokesperson for the Jerusalem police. “If he does this I think they will let him stay,” he added.
Mohammed Abu Tir was arrested Wednesday afternoon after refusing to comply with a Supreme Court order to leave Jerusalem by June 30. In court Thursday the prosecution requested that he be deported to the West Bank
The condition of the move was that he pay a deposit of over $260 that would be confiscated should he return to Jerusalem.
Hamas’ Mohammed Abu Tir was elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council to represent his East Jerusalem constituency in the 2006 Palestinian elections. Shortly after the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza
, the Israeli minister of internal affairs ordered the arrest of Abu Tir, and numerous other Palestinian parliamentarians. Abu Tir was released from prison after four and half years on May 20, after which he was stripped of his Israeli citizenship
THE BATTLE TO REMAIN
Threatened with detention are an additional three Palestinian officials, Mohammed Totah, Ahmed Attoun and Khaled Abu Arafeh. With their deportation deadlines expiring on Thursday, the three are living in the building of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
They hope that this will deter the police. “We don’t have diplomatic immunity but they came to us because we have a long-established program that deals with detainees,” said Cecilia Goin of the ICRC.
“We will arrest them at the time and place that suits us,” Ben Ruby told JMCC.org, in defense of the police’s delay in making the arrests.
“This is an aggressive action against the Palestinian parliamentary community and the right of the community to serve their people,” said Attoun. “We were elected on the basis of democratic agreement on all sides, Israeli and Palestinian.” The officials met last week with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
to discuss their potential deportation.
The case is fast becoming a part of peace process
negotiations. The delay in the court case “gives Abbas the opportunity to better look into the case,” said Abu Tir’s chief lawyer Osama Saadi. “This issue was on the table in discussions between President Abbas and peace envoy Mitchell during his visit last week,” he confirmed
The court case has been placed in the same bracket as the recent announcement to demolish 22 houses in Silwan
. It is, many Palestinians say, part of the judaization of East Jerusalem.
“It is all part of putting the community here [in East Jerusalem] under pressure…it places them in perpetual uncertainty of their position,” said Jon Neall of the organization Ecumenical Accompaniment in Palestine and Israel.
Such actions, argues Neall, further degrade trust between Israelis and Palestinians at a time when progress in the peace process is being sought. “Most Palestinians don’t believe that Israel wants peace. They feel that Netanyahu continues to provoke them, but for the moment they are refusing to bite.