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Jerusalem Christians support Hamas ministers

July 16, 2010 3:35 P.M. (Updated: July 17, 2010 1:37 P.M.)
Jerusalem - Ma'an - A delegation representing Christian communities in Jerusalem visited a sit-in tent outside Red Cross headquarters on Friday, erected by three Palestinian lawmakers faced with expulsion from the city.

Former Jerusalem affairs' minister Khaled Abu Arafah and two other Palestinian Legislative Council members, Ahmad Atoun and Muhammad Totah, who were all voted into public office with the Hamas bloc, began the demonstration in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood shortly after the deadline for their deportation orders passed in late June.

The lawmakers were stripped of their Jerusalem residency rights by Israel and were given short weeks to leave the city. Mohammad Abu Teir, another legislator facing expulsion, was detained near his home in June and is standing trial in West Jerusalem.

The delegation expressed their solidarity with the ministers and said that Palestinians, whether Muslim or Christian, were not strangers to the holy city, which is their religious and national home.

Several international delegations have visited the protesters, including a group from the UK’s House of Lords, EU ministers, Israeli peace activists, UN representatives and a Jordanian peace envoy.

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