JERUSALEM, June 22 (JMCC) - Three Palestinian parliamentarians and a former minister are refusing to leave the city of Jerusalem
as ordered by Israeli officials.
We as sons of the city of Jerusalem never left it before. We were born here before it was occupied and we emphasize that we will remain here and never leave it, said the four in a prepared statement at a press conference Tuesday.
They also called on the Palestinian Authority
to halt all negotiations with Israel
as long as such measures continue.
The event brought together officials from the estranged political parties Hamas
, as well as Palestinian politicians from Israel, who say they are being persecuted by Israeli laws threatening to strip them of their positions.
Conditions in Jerusalem are very dangerous, Knesset member Jamal Zahalka told listeners. Removing these Jerusalem parliamentarians is the beginning of a new Israeli plan to expel national political leaders from the city.
The three parliamentarians -- Muhammad Totah, Muhammad Abu Tir, and Ahmed Attoun -- participated in 2006 elections, where their faction Hamas bid to participate in the Palestinian government for the first time. The movement won a majority of seats but was unable to govern due to internal dissent and an international funding boycott.
Hamas and Fateh subsequently sought to share power in a national unity government, in which the fourth official, Khaled Abu Arafeh, participated as a minister. That government also collapsed.
The officials have been targeted by Israeli regulations that allow the government to strip Palestinians of their right to live and work in Jerusalem if they are shown to be connected to a terrorist organization.
Not long ago, the debate focused on the issue of settlements
and Israeli escalation in that area, but now we are coming to a war over the human presence itself in Jerusalem, said Palestinian governor Adnan Husseini.
Officials at the meeting announced the creation of a commission to defend Jerusalem residents from deportations such as these. Hussein Abu Assab, Ziad Hammouri, Seif Abbasi and Muhammed Jadallah will all sit on the committee.