Deportation of Members of the Palestinian Legislative Council


Affidavit by: Ahmad Atoun

Date of birth: January 14, 1968

Place of residency: Sur Baher, Jerusalem

"On May 28, 2006 I received a letter signed by the Israeli minister of interior regarding the revocation of my residency right and deporting me from the city because of my membership in the Palestinian Legislative Council in addition of my representation to Hamas which is considered an enemy to Israel. Because I hold the citizenship in Israel, I am obliged to express my loyalty to Israel, according to the letter.

Nevertheless, I am not an Israeli citizen, but I only hold the Israeli ID card. The order gave me an ultimatum of one month to leave the city. Similar orders were received by PLC members Muhammad Abu Teir and Muhammad Totah in addition to minister of Jerusalem affairs Khaled Abu Arafeh of the Palestinian cabinet which was formed by Prime Minister Ismail Hanniyeh.

On June 2006 at mid night my house in Sur Baher was raided to arrest me. After 17 days of arrest in Ofer Prison, the Israeli Attorney General refused my administrative arrest because of the lack of public or secret legal grounds. I was brought together with the other brothers before a judge in Ofer military court twice. Every time the judge ordered my release, but the prosecution used to appeal against the judge order. According to the available information to me at that time, the judge was not convinced with our arrest. Later, he left on vacation for one year.

For two-and-a-half year I appeared 162 times before other judges and each time I reiterated what I used to say during the interrogation, that I am a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council according to the Palestinian Israeli understandings. I confirmed also that I have no affiliation with Hamas. In the PLC, I represent Reform and Change Bloc which has nothing to do with Hamas.

During the last court session in Ofer military court, the attorney general requested the testimony of the Israeli researcher Shinhav. Together with a group of his students, they presented their study about the close relation between Hamas and Reform and Change Bloc. Consequently, an Israeli female judge decided to send me to jail for three-and-a-half-year. On November 2, 2009 I was released from prison after I served my sentence. Following my release, I discovered that my number of Jerusalem ID card had been cancelled from the computer of the Israeli Ministry of Interior and that I no more benefit from the medical insurance. I was not able to obtain the travel document because there was no number for me in the computer of the ministry. However, the revocation of my residency right has not affected other members of my family.

As a result, I appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court against the decision of deporting me from my place of residency. The first proceeding by the court convened on May 5, 2010, but the case was not discussed because of the judge private reasons, consequently, the court was adjourned till September 2010. However, on June 2, 2010 Israeli police summoned me to the Russian Compound, but when I didn't go to the police station, on June 4, 2010 at 9:00 a.m. members of the Israeli police and intelligence raided my home and ordered me to head immediately to the police station. Therefore, I went to the Russian Compound together with minister Khaled abu Arafeh who underwent the same procedures which I faced. When we approached the gate of the Russian Compound, we handed our Id cards to the guards at the main entrance.

In the office of the Israeli intelligence (room no. 4) one police man handed us the order of the Israeli police that, "We are going to seize your ID cards for the sake of ministry of interior and that from now on, you don't have the right to use any document. Your presence in Jerusalem is due to a temporally permit that expires after 30 days on July 2, 2010. After that date, your will be treated according to laws of the Israeli state as infiltrators in the state of Israel."

Now, I seriously fear the implementation of that unjust and illegal order, particularly that according to international law, I am a citizen under occupation and that the occupier has no right to compulsory transfer me from the city in which I reside. In case of implementing the decision, many changes will affect members of my family. It is impossible to live displacement and insulation from each others. I am the breadwinner of my family which comprises of six members: my wife and my sons Mujahed, 12, Muhammad, 11, Mahmoud, 7, and my daughter Miryam 10. Moreover, my wife is pregnant in her fifth month. Anyway, I consider the deportation as compulsory and will affect 7 citizens in Jerusalem.

Ahmad Atoun's biography

He was born in Jerusalem in 1968, married and father of four: three sons and one daughter. He completed his secondary study in al-Aqsa Shari'a School inside al-Haram al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary). He obtained his BA in Shari'a from al-Quds University in Abu Dis. He obtained his MA in Islamic studies from the same university. He holds a high diploma in institutions' management, media and Hebrew language. Atoun worked as a mosque Imam and preacher in al-Omari Mosque in al-Quds. He worked as the administrative director in a center for teaching the holy Koran in Jerusalem from 1996 until 2006. From 2000 until 2006 he headed the Cultural Forum in Sur Baher. He is currently an active member in several Palestinian welfare and social organizations and in the field of education in Jerusalem and the related affairs to al-Aqsa Mosque. Atoun is considered an activist who has good relations with the various political and social factions in Jerusalem.

He was arrested for the first time in 1988 and served 4 years in prison. He was re-arrested in 1994 and served three years in prison. In 1999, Atoun was arrested again and served 6 months in administrative detention. Later, he was arrested on various occasions and spent a total of 6 months. On June 29, 2006 he was abducted and released on December 5, 2009. Therefore, he served a total period of 12 years in Israeli jails.

On June 5, 2006, Israeli Minister of Interior handed him the order of revoking his residency right in Jerusalem together with other members of Reform and Change bloc. On June 6, 2010, Israeli police handed him the order to leave his city before July 3, 2010.


Second: Khaled Ibrahim Ishaq Abu Arafeh

Place of birth: Jerusalem

Date of birth: October 3, 1961

Nationality: Palestinian

Career: Former Minister of Jerusalem's Affairs in the tenth Palestinian Cabinet which was formed in 2006

"I was born and raised in the city of Jerusalem. I am still living in Jerusalem until this moment. I am obliged to hold the status of permanent resident. Thanks God, I do not hold the Israeli nationality. I occupied the position of Minister of Jerusalem's Affairs in the Palestinian cabinet which was formed on March 28, 2006.

On May 29, 2006 after three months of my service in the Palestinian cabinet, I received a notification from the Israeli minister of interior to bargain me to choose between the resignation from the Palestinian cabinet or having my residency right in Jerusalem revoked. The minister gave me an ultimatum of one month to implement the offer. However, the minister ordered my arrest at the night of June 29, 2006 following the police raid to my house which locates in Ras al-Amud. I was immediately transferred to the police detention camp in the Russian Compound where I was seized for two hours, but later was transferred to Ofer Prison near Bitounia. There, one of the Israeli officers accused me of "working with the Reform and change bloc, but I replied him that I am independent."

Later, I was transferred to Ramlah Prison where I was incarcerated for two weeks together with the rest 65 detainees who include ministers and mayors. However, when I denied the charges of representing the Reform and Change Bloc in the government, Israeli police was obliged to transfer me to the police detention station in the Russian compounds. There, I was re-interrogated and the police tried to convict me, a fact that my cause me to face imprisonment like my other colleagues, according to what I was told by one of the intelligence officers. However, when I insisted on rejecting all the charges, Israeli police arrested all who worked with me in the ministry in an attempt to gather evidence to convict me. Within this context, Israeli police arrested my bodyguard Haitham Taha , secretary of the ministry Zeid al-Qeeq in addition to director of the ministry's branch in Bido village Mousa Zahran. The police also interrogated the ministry's financial manager. I was locked in the Russian compound for 80 days, during which I suffered of a headache and back pains, in addition of loosing partial control on myself. I was later transferred to Shaare Zedek Hospital but the police did not honor the hospital instructions that I should report to it to continue with my medical treatment.

Later, I was transferred to Beer a-Sabe' prison (Holy Kedar) where I was locked in from October 5, 2006 until August 17, 2008, but I was transferred later to Eshel Prison. I was released from prison on September 17, 2008.

Following my release, Israeli police raided my home several times on the pretext that they are looking for other people!! I was summoned for interrogation at the police station in Jabal al-Mukaber. They also raided the store in which I used to work in Jerusalem. My two lawyers Osama Sa'di and Fadi al-Qawasmi presented an appeal to the Israeli Central Court to cancel the decision of revoking my ID card. They also presented another appeal requesting the Israelis to issue me new residency right. However, the court rejected both appeals on the pretext that I still practice prohibited policies.

On June 2, 2010, Israeli police raided my home and left a note that I should report to the police station. The next day, they raided my home once again and left a note ordering me to report to the police station. When I went to the police station, the police officers confiscated my ID card. They also asked about my driving license which was not with me. They warned me that after July 3, 2010, I will be considered illegal resident in Jerusalem and will be subjected to punishment in case I continue to stay in the city.

Khaled Abu Arafeh's biography

He was born in Ras al-Amoud in Jerusalem in 1961, married and father of five, three boys and two daughters. He obtained his secondary certificate in 1978 from the Arab Kuwaiti Institute.

He received his bachelor degree in mechanics engineering from Technology University in Bagdad in 1993. He is now preparing for his Master degree in political science in Abu Dis University.

He was a former minister of Jerusalem affairs in the Tenth Palestinian cabinet in 2006. He is an active member with the Engineers' Union. Abu Arafeh is also a member of the Constitution Drafting Committee of the Engineers' Union.

He is also the Deputy President of the Board of Trustees of the Society Development Institution which was closed by the Israeli authorities in 2003. He is a partner member in the forums that were organized by the Palestinian Academic Society for International Studies, PASSIA in Jerusalem. He is a member of the Committee to Defend Lands and Properties of Silwan and Ras al-Amud. Moreover, he is a supportive member to the Islamic Higher Committee in Jerusalem.

He was subjected to interrogation on several occasions in 1981, 1978, 1993 and 2006. He was arrested in 1989 and served an imprisonment term of more than 12 months. In 1994, he was arrested and served four months in administrative detention.

During the campaign which was launched by the Israeli authorities against Palestinian representatives and ministers on June 29, 2006, he was arrested and sentenced to 28 months in prison, but was released on September 17, 2008.

On May 29, 2006, Israeli minister of interior handed him an order to revoke his residency rights in Jerusalem together with other members of Palestinian Legislative Council of Jerusalem. On July 3, 2010, Israeli police handed him an order to leave his city.

Third: PLC member Muhammad Abu Teir

Date of birth: April 16, 1951

"I am a Jerusalem resident from Um Tuba village. I learned in Jerusalem schools. Since 1962, I used to work as Imam for several mosques in different parts of the Holy City. I couldn't pursue my university studies in Beirut following my arrest for affiliation with Fatah Movement, so I served in prison from 1974 until 1985. By then I was released from prison as part of the prisoners' exchange, known with the deal of Ahmad Jibril (Secretary General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command),

In 2006, I was nominated to run for the legislative elections. Three months after I won the election, I was summoned to the police station in the Russian Compounds together with my colleagues Ahmad Atoun and Muhammad Totah in addition to Minister of Jerusalem Affairs in the Palestinian cabinet Khaled Abu Arafeh. At that time, we received a letter of warning signed by the Israeli minister of interior requesting us to resign from the Palestinian Legislative Council which is dominated by Hamas Movement, which they consider an enemy organization to the state of Israel. According to the warning, we are considered as Israeli citizens who are supposed to express loyalty to the state of Israel.

According to the letter, if we do not resign from the Legislative Council within 3 months, our ID cards would be revoked and we will be deported from the city of Jerusalem. The letter was issued on May 30, 2006. One month after we received the order of the Israeli Minister of Interior, I was arrested with my other colleagues the PLC members, in addition to Minister of Jerusalem Affairs on June 29, 2006. We learned that the reason behind our arrest was the abduction of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Gaza on June 26, 2006.

They faced us with charges of membership with Reform and Change Bloc. I served two years and a-half in Ramlah Prison. I was taken to court several times. Later, an Israeli researcher (Shinhaf) was invited to testify in court. He delivered a briefing of his study, in which he said that Reform and Change Bloc is one of Hamas wings. Afterwards, I was sentenced to four years in prison in addition to two months because I refused to standup up before the judge during my last court proceeding in Ofer. I spent 10 days in Ashkelon Prison and later was transferred to Nafha Prison in al-Naqab Dessert.

On May 20, 2010, I was released with my other colleagues, but the authorities did not hand me my ID card, since our residency right in the city have been revoked as stipulated in the letter of the Minister of Interior. Consequently, I was ordered to leave my city no later than June 25, 2010. However, my other colleagues were requested to leave the city no later than July 3, 2010. Nevertheless, Adallah organization and office of attorney Osama Halabi appealed to the Israeli High Court to cancel or postpone the Interior Minister's order to revoke our residency rights and consequently cancelling the ensuing deportation order, but their efforts were in vain. The High Court decided to discuss the issue in December 2010.

On June 23, 2010 Israeli police called me on the phone to remind me that Friday on June 25, 2010 will be the last day for me to stay in Jerusalem, and in case I refuse to leave the city voluntary I would be arrested at any time.

The process of deporting me from my birth place means depriving me from living together with my kids and grandsons. I live with my wife and two sons Mahmoud, 18, and Mus'ab in the same house. However, for my five daughters, they are all married and living in various parts of Jerusalem.

Bibliography of Muhammad Mahmoud Hassan Abu Teir

He was born in Um Tuba in Jerusalem in 1952. He enrolled in Beirut University but was not able to finish his Bachelor degree because of his first arrest on his way back home in 1974. He is married and father of seven, two sons and five daughters.

He was first arrested in 1974 and sentenced 16 years in prison, but served only 11 years and was released during the prisoners exchange in 1985. Abu Teir was arrested for the second time after the first intifada in 1989 and released in 1990.

He was arrested for the third time for six months. During his fourth arrest in 1992, he served six years in prison. On June 29, 2006 following winning his seat in PLC, he was abducted and incarcerated for four years. He was released from prison on May 20, 2010.

He worked as Imam and preacher for the Great Mosque in Um Tuba. He is a unique social activist in Jerusalem Governorate. Abu Teir was the second man on the election list of Reform and Change Bloc. Throughout his life, he served 30 years in prison.

On May 29, 2006 Israeli Minister of Interior handed Abu Teir an order of revoking his residency rights in Jerusalem together with the other PLC members of Jerusalem. On May 20, 2010 Israeli policy handed him an order to leave the Holy City before June 19, 2010. He was rearrested again on July 18, 2010.