Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Israeli forces detain Hamas lawmaker

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained Hamas legislator Mohammed Abu Teir on Tuesday, army officials said.

Israeli soldiers ransacked Abu Teir's home in Kafr Aqab, south of Ramallah, before detaining the elected official, a Ma'an correspondent reported.

An Israeli military spokesman said Abu Teir was detained on Tuesday but could not immediately comment on the reason for his arrest.

Former PA Minister of Jerusalem affairs Khalid Abu Arafa told Ma’an he was concerned about Abu Teir's fate after Israel withdrew his Jerusalem identity card.

In December, an Israeli court expelled Abu Teir to Ramallah from his home in Jerusalem for the second time, after four months in jail for defying a previous ban.

He was previously arrested on June 30, 2010 for entering East Jerusalem after the interior ministry stripped him of his residence permit for his activity in Hamas.

Following Abu Teir's deportation to Ramallah in December, UN officials expressed concern. Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said he was "worried" about the "potential precedent" that the trial set.

Abu Teir was elected to the Palestinian parliament from East Jerusalem in 2006 when Hamas won a landslide victory over the secular Fatah movement of Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war and unilaterally annexed it shortly after. About 200,000 Palestinians live there.

Israel regards the whole of Jerusalem as its "eternal, indivisible" capital, while the Palestinians lay claim to its eastern sector as the capital of their promised state.