The Israeli Supreme Court Shields Hamas Members from Punishment

Sept. 20 2017

The Israeli supreme court recently ruled on a case involving four Palestinian residents of eastern Jerusalem who in 2006 took positions in the Palestinian government on behalf of the Change and Reform party: an organ of Hamas. As they are not Israeli citizens—east Jerusalemites have a special status—the government responded by revoking their residency rights. The four appealed the decision to the courts and now, after nearly a decade, the highest court has ruled in their favor. Evelyn Gordon finds the conclusion to be “mind-boggling.”

Although the Entry into Israel Law allows the government to revoke anyone’s residency rights “at its discretion,” [the court] stipulated that the law shouldn’t be used to revoke residency for “breach of trust,” [which is what the authorities cited as grounds for the expulsion]. Why? Because most east Jerusalem Palestinians were born in Israel and had lived there all their lives, so they deserve greater protection than migrants, who have previously lived elsewhere and whose roots in Israel are therefore shallower.

That east Jerusalem Palestinians merit greater protection than, say, labor migrants, is obviously true. . . . But in this particular case, the court’s otherwise valid distinction is completely irrelevant. After all, the case wasn’t about ordinary east Jerusalem residents, who, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, could reasonably be assumed by the court to view Israel as their primary home. It was specifically about people who chose to serve in a foreign government on behalf of a terrorist organization, and who thereby declared that their allegiance to this foreign entity superseded their allegiance to Israel. . . .

Even the majority justices appeared to realize how irrelevant their argument actually was. In a truly stunning statement, Justice Uzi Vogelman, who wrote the main opinion, said, “Our interpretative decision didn’t focus on the petitioners’ case specifically, but on an interpretive question of general applicability to residents of east Jerusalem.” Quite how any court can decide a case without focusing on that case “specifically” is beyond me.

Ostensibly, the case at least has limited application. After all, how many east Jerusalem Palestinians are going to become Hamas legislators or cabinet members? But in reality, the implications are broad, because if even swearing allegiance to a foreign government on behalf of a terrorist organization committed to Israel’s destruction isn’t enough to make a Palestinian lose his Israeli residency and its attendant benefits, what on earth would be?

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Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: East Jerusalem, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Supreme Court

 

Why the Leader of Hamas Went to Russia

Sept. 30 2022

Earlier this month, the Hamas chairman Ismail Haniyeh and several of his colleagues visited Moscow, where they met with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other Russian officials. According to Arabic-language media, Haniyeh came seeking “new ideas” about how to wage war against the Jewish state. The terrorist group has had good relations with the Kremlin for several years, and even maintains an office in Moscow. John Hardie and Ivana Stradner comment on the timing of the visit:

For Moscow, the visit likely reflects a continuation of its efforts to leverage the Palestinians and other issues to pressure Israel over its stance on Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia and Israel built friendly relations in the decades following the Soviet Union’s dissolution. After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Jerusalem condemned the war, but made sure to tread carefully in order to preserve working ties with Moscow, lest Russian military forces in Syria disrupt Israel’s strategically important air operations there.

Nevertheless, bilateral tensions spiked in April after Yair Lapid, then serving as Israel’s foreign minister, joined the chorus of voices worldwide accusing Russia of committing war crimes in Ukraine. Jerusalem later provided Kyiv with some non-lethal military aid and a field hospital. In response, Moscow hardened its rhetoric about Israeli actions in the Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian issue isn’t the only way that Russia has sought to pressure Israel. Moscow is also threatening, on seemingly spurious grounds, to shutter the Russian branch of the Jewish Agency.

Moscow likely has little appetite for outright conflict with Israel, particularly when the bulk of Russia’s military is floundering in Ukraine. But there are plenty of other ways that Russia, which maintains an active intelligence presence in the Jewish state, could damage Israel’s interests. As Moscow cozies up with Hamas, Iran, and other enemies of Israel, Jerusalem—and its American allies—would do well to keep a watchful eye.

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Read more at Algemeiner

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Russia