Four Arab members of the Israeli Knesset met Wednesday with Hamas legislators in East Jerusalem, a move which was seen as showing support to the Hamas members of parliament after Israel stripped the senior Hamas officials of their Jerusalem residency rights.
The MKs are members of the Ra’am-Ta’al party, they met with their Palestinian counterparts Mohammad Abu Teir, Mohammad Totah and Ahmad Attoun at the home of Abu Teir in east Jerusalem.
The Israeli legislators called on the Hamas-led government to prevent the resistance fighters from firing homemade shells from Gaza at Israelis targets.
During the meeting, the Israeli legislators called on the Hamas-led government to prevent militants from firing rockets from Gaza into Israel, MK Ibrahim Tsartsur, the party’s leader, reported.
This meeting is the first since Hamas won the legislative elections in March 28. Tsartsur told the Israeli online daily Haaretz that he informed the Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that he planned to meet with the Palestinian legislators.
On Tuesday, Israel decided to revoke the Hamas officials’ Israeli-issued Jerusalem identity cards, which grant them permanent residency in Jerusalem. The decision is considered one of a series of responses to the Palestinian suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on Monday, in which nine people were killed and dozens wounded.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Justice Minister Ahmad Khaled said on Wednesday that the four Hamas members plan to appeal against the decision to the Israeli Supreme Court. Without the permits, the four would be forced to move to the West Bank.
Hamas considered the decision as part of the Israeli procedures to force the Palestinians and their representatives out of the Holy City.
"Once the Israeli authorities inform us officially of their decision, we are going to appeal to the Supreme Court," Abu Teir stated, "We will also go to the International Court of Justice if needed, and we are going to ask the Arab and Islamic countries to appeal to the international community to abort this decision."
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."
Khalid 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.
Most of the Palestinians in Jerusalem hold permanent residency cards, having turned down Israel’s offer of citizenship because they felt this would mean accepting Israel’s annexation policies.