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Tuesday July 13, 2010 11:58 AM (EST+7)

JERUSALEM July 13 (JMCC) - An Israeli court hearing held Monday to determine the fate of a Palestinian politician ordered to leave Jerusalem ended inconclusively, said his lawyers.

Parliamentarian Muhammed Abu Tir was arrested outside his home two weeks ago after refusing to honor an order stripping him of his residency documents.

The court will reconvene Wednesday. It has the option of removing Abu Tir from Jerusalem on the grounds that he is there illegally, fining him $15,000, or extending his detention to September when the Israeli supreme court is to hear his case, says his lawyer Fadi Qawasmi.

He could also be released on bail until all legal proceedings are completed.

Abu Tir is one of four Hamas politicians - three parliamentarians and one former minister - that Israel stripped last month of the right to live and work in Jerusalem as punishment for their political activities.

The three other men have sought refuge at the headquarters of the International Committee of the Red Cross in the city, fearing that Israeli officials seeks to arrest them.

We are like someone who woke up from a sleep and found himself in a barren desert with no knowledge of north or south, says Khaled Abu Arafeh, the former minister. Several days ago, he became ill and a doctor was brought to the Red Cross to treat him for fear that if the left the area, Israeli authorities would detain him.

The deportees' case has been brought to the attention of international interlocutors, says Arafeh, but no deal has been forthcoming.

We learned that they have prioritized our case in the negotiations agenda, he says, and demanded that the Israelis halt the decision to keep us out, but we do not believe that Israel will respond.

The politicians are considering stepping up their activities, perhaps carrying out a hunger strike or calling on internationals around the world to demonstrate in support.







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