Four Palestinian legislators, including the cabinet minister of Jerusalem affairs, Khaled Abu Arafa, refused an ultimatum issued on Monday by Israeli Interior Minister, Ronnie Bar-On, to quit their parliamentary posts within 30 days if they want to continue living in the Israeli-occupied Holy city of Jerusalem.
Bar-On said the four would have to choose between living in Jerusalem and belonging to what he described as an “enemy” parliament.
“You will either resign or you won’t be with us,” Bar-On said in a Channel 2 TV interview. “The letters were delivered to them today, and they have 30 days to decide.”
The four legislators were summoned to accept the ultimatum notices at an Israeli occupation police station in Jerusalem on Monday evening.
The notices orders them to commit to resigning the Palestinian Authority within two months (according to the Jerusalem Post on Tuesday), otherwise the procedure of revoking their residency status would be set in motion.
All refused to sign the letters and stated they did not intend to do as ordered, Israel’s Army Radio reported.
Abu Teir has been detained repeatedly by Israeli police for political activity in the city.
Israel originally threatened to strip the Palestinian legislators of their identity cards in April. Arab members of the Israeli Knesset visited the Hamas members in a show of solidarity, and human rights groups threatened to take the matter to Israel’s High Court of Justice.
Expelling Palestinians from Jerusalem for political reasons is unprecedented.
The Israeli ultimatum was widely condemned by Arab members of the Israeli Knesset. “The decision is terrible and unjust,” MK Ahmad Tibi said.
“The right of east Jerusalemites to have a permanent residency status stems from their connection to the place and not the goodwill of the Israeli government,” Tibi added.
Another MK, Muhammad Barakeh, said the move “reflects the arrogance of an occupier, not proper administration.”
In addition to Abu Arafa, the three other members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) are Mohammad Abu Teir, Ahmad Abu Atoun and Mahmoud Totah.
*this article was sourced from the Palestine Media Center