by Khaled Abu Toameh
Four Hamas political figures facing expulsion from
The Israeli Ministry of Interior had revoked the status of the four Hamas representatives as permanent residents of
These representatives who are fighting to retrieve their Israeli ID cards belong to the same organization whose leaders used to send young men and women to blow themselves up in
The four men – three legislators and a former minister -- have good reason to put up a good fight to stay in
To prevent their expulsion, they have even chosen to appeal to courts of the country that they do not recognize and would so much like to destroy:
The Hamas men's campaign is not about being allowed to stay with their families in Jerusalem -- or even to spy, which the Israelis would find out -- as much as fear of what awaits them under Fatah in the West Bank, Hamas in the Gaza Strip, and dictatorships in the Arab world, where there is no democracy, and rule of law is capricious at best.
Once they arrive in the Gaza Strip, they will discover that their government, the Hamas government, has imposed a reign of terror and intimidation on the local population and is even confiscating much of the humanitarian aid, including food and medicine, that is being dispatched to the area.
Hundreds of Hamas followers are being held in Palestinian-run prisons without trial. Most are denied family visits and the right to consult with a lawyer. At least three Hamas detainees are believed to have died as a result of torture in the prisons controlled by Abbas and Fayyad.
In the Gaza Strip, the four Hamas representatives will have to join 1.5 million Palestinians whose living conditions have only deteriorated since Hamas seized control of the area exactly three years ago.
In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the Hamas operatives would not enjoy many of the privileges they are entitled to as residents of
As permanent residents of
They can get into their cars, which have Israeli license plates, and drive any time of the day to eat fish in
They have unlimited access to Israeli hospitals and free education for their children; and are entitled to many social and economic benefits that many Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip do not have.
The Hamas representatives know that in most of the Arab countries they would be dealt with as a "security threat," and would most probably find themselves under house arrest. That is, of course, if any of those countries agrees to host them in the first place.
Now, however, the Hamas men are willing to humiliate themselves by publicly disowning the Islamist movement. If the choice is between membership in an Islamist movement and life in
Khaled Abu Toameh
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