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Erekat condemns Israeli threat to deport Palestinian Jerusalemites

Dec. 8, 2014 8:53 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 9, 2014 12:12 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat on Monday denounced threats by the Israeli Ministry of Interior to deport Palestinian Jerusalemites from their home city.

"Israel's policy of coercive deportation, which has affected five citizens, is illegal in the first place, and is nothing but a consolidation of Israel's policy of ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians, especially in Jerusalem," Erekat said in a statement.

He said the policy was "part of a chain of daily Israeli criminal acts against Palestinians, which includes murder, torture, and terrorism."

The policy has so far affected Salih Dirbas and Majd Darwish from al-Isawiya, Faris Abu Ghannam and Akram al-Shurafa from the al-Tur neighborhood, and Dawood al-Ghoul from Silwan, Erekat said.

Erekat's statement came as the Israeli Supreme Court was preparing to issue a ruling on whether to deport four members of the Palestinian Legislative Council on Tuesday, but the hearing was postponed to a later date.

In a joint statement, Palestinian lawyers Hassan Jabarin, Usama al-Saadi, and Fadi al-Qawasmi condemned the Israeli decision to postpone the hearing.

The lawyers said that case did not depend on Israeli laws, but that it contradicted international law.

They feared that if the court chose to deport the MPs, the case might be used to deport any Jerusalemite without consideration of legal grounds.

Muhammad Abu Teir, Ahmad Attun, Muhammad Tutah, and Khalid Abu Arafeh, all members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said that they face deportation from Jerusalem and the withdrawal of their residency rights.

They said in a statement that "according to human rights experts and organizations, withdrawal of our residency rights and deportation from Jerusalem under that pretext would be illegal and a breach of international conventions."

Correction: An earlier headline of this report stated that Erekat condemned an Israeli threat to deport Jerusalemite members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. In fact, Erekat never mentioned the MPs specifically.
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