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Jerusalem man on hunger strike over residency rights

Aug. 15, 2010 10:51 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 16, 2010 6:40 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Jerusalem resident entered day 20 of a hunger strike Sunday outside the Israeli embassy in Berlin, in protest over the Israeli Interior Ministry's decision not to give his daughter an ID card.

Firas Al-Maraghi was forced to apply for "family reunification" so his daughter Zeinab would receive residency rights in Jerusalem and be included on the population registry, which was rejected by Israel's Interior Ministry.

Unlike citizens of Israel, Palestinians from Jerusalem are required to prove their residency in order to maintain rights and ID cards, often the only form of identification they possess. Families whose children are born abroad must apply for family reunification in order for their children to be recognized as Jerusalem residents.

Chief of the PLO's expatriates department Tayseer Khaled has appealed for assistance to Palestinian and Arab communities in Germany, calling for solidarity with Al-Maraghi.

Khaled said he had been in contact with several human rights organizations on behalf of the Al-Maraghi family, and has informed the EU of the father's strike.

A letter of appeal was also delivered to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, calling for rapid intervention by Israeli authorities and for the government's respect of the human rights declaration.
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