I recently wrote a pair of articles ("Israel Shuns Victory" and "How Israel Can Win") setting out what I think the U.S. government should be urging its Israeli ally to do – i.e., win its war against the Palestinians, causing them to give up on their goal of eliminating the Jewish state – and got my share of criticism for enunciating this goal. For example, between them, Israel's two English-language dailies ran three stories lambasting my ideas.
Well, for my critics, I have some good news: Kadima has no intention of listening to me or of winning. At least, that's how I respond to this news report from Arutz Sheva, "Israel Strips Hamas PA Officials of Jerusalem Residency."
Israel has revoked the Jerusalem residency status enjoyed by four members of the Hamas terror group serving in the Palestinian Authority's parliament and living in Israel's capital. Interim Prime Minister Ehud Olmert ordered the revocation following the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv Monday, which Hamas – now ruling the PA – defended as a legitimate act in the struggle against Israel.
The loss of Jerusalem residency means the Hamas officials will no longer receive money from Israel's National Insurance (Bituach Leumi) and will not be afforded the freedom of movement throughout all of Israel accorded those Arabs holding Jerusalem residency cards. Jerusalem's Arabs enjoy the unique ability to travel freely to all areas of the greater Land of Israel.
Imagine that. Next, Hamas members might lose their bus passes in Jerusalem! Or maybe even lose their day-care center privileges.
The Hamas parliament members are reportedly considering bringing the case to Israel's Supreme Court, which has in the past been sympathetic to Arab wishes to retain Israeli citizenship.
Nice to know that when it comes to their own residency permits, Hamas leaders recognize the Israeli judicial system.
The Justice Ministry has said the government has a legal case but stopped short of recommending the sanctions. The Israeli television program, Mabat, pointed out that the courts might ask the government to explain how it can define the three as terrorists and strip them of residency, while choosing not to arrest them when they had the chance.
Good question. (April 20, 2006)
Three out of the four, from right to left: Ahmed Abu Atoun, Mohammed Abu Tir, Mohammed Totach.
July 2, 2006 update: The Jerusalem Post notes that the IDF arrested all of this particular quartet on June 29, in the course of a raid that seized over 60 Hamas officials.