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Family of Palestinian responsible for attack forced to leave Jerusalem

March 10, 2016 6:31 P.M. (Updated: March 11, 2016 1:36 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Five family members of a Palestinian killed after shooting and injuring two Israeli officers were denied Jerusalem residency and transferred to the occupied West Bank by the Israeli authorities, according to prisoners’ rights group Addameer.

Lawyer for the group Muhammad Mahmoud said the family members of Fouad Abu Rajab -- all of whom lived in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of al-Issawiya -- were summoned to al-Maskobiya police station in Jerusalem.

Mahmoud said the Israeli authorities following investigations moved to deport the family members to the West Bank on the grounds that they were living in Jerusalem illegally.

The five were reportedly in the process of applying for Jerusalem residency, Mahmoud said, without adding further information regarding the status of their applications.

Following the decision, Israeli police transported the family members to Qalandiya military checkpoint, one of the few access points from occupied East Jerusalem into the West Bank, according to Addameer.

Mahmoud identified the five as Abu Rajab’s mother, his two sisters Reem and Rose, aged 19 and 16, and his two brothers Mahmoud and Muhammad, aged 15 and 14.

Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said Israeli Minister of Internal Security, Gilad Erdan, had ordered the police to investigate the Rajab family's legal status in Israel.

Al-Samri said an application for family reunification by Rajab’s parents had been rejected by the Israeli authorities, making him, his father, and his sisters’ residency in al-Issawiya illegal. They had therefore been expelled to the occupied West Bank.

Minister Erdan ordered the police with clear and strict directions to expel anyone who is illegally in Israel, in addition to continuing to fight "terrorism" everywhere and making those involved in "terrorism pay an expensive price without exceptions.”

Abu Rajab's mother is reportedly an Israeli citizen, but was forced to the West Bank in order to avoid being separated from her family. 

Abu Rajab, 21, was shot dead on Tuesday after allegedly firing gunshots at Israeli police forces near Salah al-Din Street in occupied East Jerusalem, injuring two Israeli officers.

Israel has in the past revoked Jerusalem residency from family members of Palestinians who carry out attacks on Israelis.

Revocations come as Israeli policies already make it near-impossible for Palestinians to obtain residency status in Jerusalem, and difficult for those who have it to retain it.

The residency status of 107 Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem was revoked in 2014, adding to the 14,309 Palestinians who have lost residency since 1967 despite being from the area.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier this month requested Israel’s Attorney-General to review a bill that would make it legal under Israeli law to deport families of West Bank Palestinians who carry out attacks to the Gaza Strip.

The PM submitted his request despite past statements by the attorney-general that such a move would be in contravention to international law.

If approved, deportation of family members to the Gaza Strip would be the latest in a series of attempts by the PM to quell attacks on Israeli military and civilians that increased in October.

The so-called preventative measures have included withholding the bodies of Palestinians killed while carrying out attacks, punitive home demolition, revocation of work permits.

All measures have been slammed as collective punishment by the international community and Palestinian leadership, who say such moves only serve to worsen the political climate.
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