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Life in East Jerusalem

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"Everyone lawfully within the territory of a state shall, within that territory, have the right to liberty of movement and freedom to choose his residence."

Under occupation, Palestinians have no free movement throughout the Territories. It represents a gross violation of their rights among others consistently denied to quash their hopes for liberation on their own land in their own country.

Ahmed Attoun was one of three PLC members imprisoned in 2006. After release in 2009, he and the others took refuge in the ICRC's Jerusalem compound.

On September 26, Haaretz writer Liel Kyzer headlined, "Hamas lawmaker arrested in Jerusalem after year of hiding from Israeli Police," saying:

In 2010, Ahmed Attoun was expelled from East Jerusalem. Like embassies and UN facilities, ICRC premises are inviolable. Nonetheless, Israeli plain-clothed masked men lawlessly entered and arrested him.

He was taken to a West Jerusalem detention facility. A scheduled September 27 hearing was postponed until October 3. An Israeli court ordered him released on condition he leave the country.

Prosecutors appealed, calling him "dangerous for the security of Israel" even if deported. He also was prohibited from entering Jerusalem without obtaining an Israeli permit.

Attoun refused preconditions. He remains detained pending disposition of his case. His family, friends, and members of the Committee for the Families of Jerusalemite Detainees protested outside the courtroom. 

They held pictures of Attoun and banners saying, "Stop Israeli piracy" and "Storming into the Red Cross (premises) is international piracy" in English, Arabic and Hebrew.

Attoun holds permanent Jerusalem residency status. In 2006, he became a democratically elected PLC member. Israel treats him like a criminal for representing the wrong party. 

After spending three and a half years in prison, he was released in November 2009 but had his residency summarily revoked. At the time, he got temporary permission to remain until July 2, 2010. Thereafter, his status became an "illegal sojourner," liable to arrest, incarceration, fines, and forced expulsion.

On June 15, 2010, he petitioned Israel's High Court, challenging his residency revocation. Still pending, his case remains unresolved. 

Under international law, East Jerusalem is occupied territory. Its residents are protected persons. As an occupier, Israel has no right to demand Palestinians swear allegiance to Israel by loyalty oath or face revocation of residency or other rights.

Israel spurns international law. Breaching it is official policy. So is systemic persecution. Rights are afforded solely to Jews. Anyone can be called a terrorist or security threat for any reason or none at all. Attoun again faces full force Israeli repression.

A Final Comment

In September, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) published "The East Jerusalem School System - Annual Status Report."

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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