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Hamas Officials No Longer Israeli Citizens

Four top Hamas officials living in eastern Jerusalem will no longer enjoy the benefits of Israeli citizenship. At least one of the four was arrested in an anti-terror security sweep this week.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 6/30/2006, 2:44 PM / Last Update: 6/30/2006, 2:18 PM

A 30-day ultimatum to choose between terrorist membership and Israeli residency expired at midnight on Thursday for the four Hamas Palestinian Authority legislators. Interior Minister Ronny Bar-On immediately revoked their citizenship.

Israeli residency documents are no longer valid for Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Khaled Abu Arafa and PA legislators Muhammed Abu-Tir, Muhammed Tutah, and Ahmed Adun, announced Bar-On.

The four terrorist leaders were told to leave their positions in the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government and parliament, or suffer the consequences.

“The right to hold permanent residency comes with the duty to show loyalty to the State of Israel,” Bar-On pointed out. “There should not be dual loyalties.” Israeli citizens in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem enjoy a number of social services, including pension and health care benefits, as well as freedom of movement within the country.

Abu Arafa was also arrested in the Israeli security sweep that netted some 64 PA legislators and other officials on Thursday, including eight PA cabinet ministers. The operation was carried out against Hamas members on the orders of the Attorney General in accordance with the Terror Prevention Act.

In his first public address since the beginning of the IDF operation in Gaza this week, PA Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told followers at a mosque on Friday, “When they kidnapped the ministers they meant to hijack the government’s position.” Haniyeh had harsh words for the sweep that took most of his new government.

“We say no positions will be hijacked,” Haniyeh said defiantly. “No governments will fall.” Former PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat had a quite a different message, however.

Erekat said earlier in the week that Israel’s "Operation Summer Rains" destroyed much of the PA administration. “We have no government, we have nothing,” he said. “They have all been taken. This is absolutely unacceptable,” he added, demanding that Israel release the PA captives immediately.

“The Prime Minister said he has no intention of playing games with Hamas,” stated Bar-On. “Hamas is a hostile organization. People who have roles in the legislative council and the Hamas government have no place in the State of Israel.”

Requests by lawyers to delay by 30 days the cancellation of Israeli citizenship for the four Hamas officials were denied.