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Israeli court extends Abu Tier detention
Ma`an News Agency
Published 12/07/2010 updated: 13/07/2010

Bethlehem - Ma`an - The detention of Jerusalem lawmaker faced with deportation Mohammed Abu Teir was extended until Wednesday by an Israeli district court, during the PLC member`s afternoon hearing.

The official was stripped of his Jerusalem residency rights in late June, and was given until 2 July to leave his native city or be deported. Two days later he was detained by Israeli forces, and remains in Israeli custody.

Israeli peace activists said they would monitor Monday’s trial, a statement from the rights group Gush Shalom said, but were thwarted when the presiding judge declared the trial a closed session, preventing even family members from entering the court room.

Delegations from Hamas and Fatah also arrived at the courthouse to observe the trial, but were barred entry.

Uri Avnery, founder of the Israeli peace organization coordinating some observers, said Abu Teir’s “only crime is being elected in democratic elections and refusing to be expelled from his hometown.”

The lawmaker is one of four elected Palestinian Legislative Council officials who has had his Jerusalem residency rights stripped from him, making it illegal to continue to reside in his native city. The men were targeted because of their membership in the Hamas political party, which Israel considers a terrorist organization.

Israeli police detained Abu Teir near his East Jerusalem home on 1 July, saying he was illegally residing in the city following the revocation of his residency permit three days prior.

In an act Gush Shalom described as “manifestly unjust,” Israeli authorities have agreed to release the official on condition he leaves his family home and city.

Gush Shalom called for the complete abolition of the interior ministry’s authority to deny East Jerusalem Palestinians residency rights, adding, `They are treated as if they were people who immigrated to Israel and whom the state is at liberty to accept or reject or put to them all sorts of draconian conditions.

“The truth is that it is not they who came to Israel – it is Israel which came to them, to the city where they lived for generations in which they have every right go on living, an absolute right which should not be infringed.”

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