Israel tells Hamas leaders from East Jerusalem to quit party or leave city

Israel last night issued an ultimatum to the four most senior Hamas politicians from East Jerusalem: leave the faction or leave the city.

The Interior Minister, Ronnie Bar-On, announced in a television interview that the Palestinian Authority Minister for Jerusalem Affairs and three other members elected to the Legislative Council in January will have their residency rights revoked unless they renounce Hamas membership.

The minister, Khaled abu Arafa, and the three backbenchers, Mohammed Abu Tir, Ahmed Abu Atoun and Mahmoud Totach, all have the blue identity cards issued by Israel to Palestinians in the Arab eastern sector of the city. “You will either resign or you won’t be with us,” Mr Bar-On said.

In the Village of Nowhere, a Fate Soon Sealed
NUAMAN, West Bank — For generations, first in caves hollowed from hillsides, then shepherds’ tents and simple stone houses, the Shawarwa and Darawi families thrived here amid pine windbreaks, olive orchards and flocks of sheep. On a hill of their own, they worked, married and raised children.

Jamal Darawi was born here in a weathered house in June 1967, the same month Israel triumphed in the Middle East war. In the conflict, Israel’s army seized East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan. Soon, the Israeli government drew a larger municipal boundary around Jerusalem, annexing the lands to the Jewish state, including Darawi’s home.

But Israel did not take the people of Nuaman. An Israeli military census right after the war registered families here as West Bank residents, even though their village fell inside Jerusalem’s new borders. As a result, the Israeli government has never offered them the right to live in the city, apply for Israeli citizenship or vote in Jerusalem, rights given to Palestinians in other annexed neighborhoods.

For many, it was a distant problem, and as the years passed on Nuaman’s single street, the residents did little about it. But now their lives in the village are threatened. Israel’s separation barrier is rising along the eastern edge of the village, sealing them inside the Jewish state.

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