“Today they expel you, tomorrow they’ll expel us!”
“Today they expel Hamas members, tomorrow they’ll expel Fatah people, then they’ll expel all the Arabs from East Jerusalem, and in the end they’ll revoke the citizenship of Israeli peace activists and expel us too,” Uri Avnery said today (July 7, 2010) in a meeting with members of the Palestinian Parliament who have found refuge in the International Red Cross building in East Jerusalem.
Avnery came with a delegation of “Gush Shalom”, “Anarchists Against the Wall” and other Israeli peace organizations, who came to protests against the attempt to expel from East Jerusalem four Palestinian members of parliament from Hamas, whose only sin is that they were elected in democratic elections monitored by ex-President Jimmy Carter and his team. The four have been released from prison only a few weeks ago.
One of the four, Muhammad Abu-Ter, has been arrested again because of his refusal to leave his home city. The tree others – Ahmad Atwan, Muhammad Totah and Halid Abu-Arafa – are staying in the Red Cross building at Sheikh Jarah. Atwan said: We did not come to Israel, Israel came to us, to the city where we were born and in which we live, as did our fathers before us. They gave us 40 days to leave our city, accusing us of being illegal residents, but this is our city and we shall not move from here!”
In the course of the meeting, police cars passed the building several times, but the police officers did not enter. Though the IRC building does not enjoy extra-territorial immunity, its invasion by the police would undoubtedly evoke international protests.
The Greek Orthodox archbishop, Theodosios, joined the protest meeting and said: “We are very glad that we sit here together, Muslims, Christians and Jews, and fight together against those who give religion and the commandment of God a false interpretation, a racist one.”
Fatah member of parliament, Hatem Abd-al-Kader, also took part in the protest meeting and said: “This is a struggle of all Palestinians, of all parties, for our basic rights.”
Avnery expressed the hope for a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and for their cooperation with the Israeli peace camp in the struggle for peace based on the coexistence of the State of Israel and the State of Palestine, with West Jerusalem serving as the capital of Israel and East Jerusalem as capital of Palestine.