Israel to Free Two Jerusalem Prisoners on Condition of Exile

Israeli authorities on Wednesday agreed to free two Palestinian Jerusalemites on the condition that they be deported from Jerusalem, a prisoners’ committee spokesman said.

Amjad Abu Asab, a spokesman for a committee that represents Jerusalemite prisoners, told Ma’an that Israel agreed to free a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs.

Abu Asab said that lawmaker Muhammad Tutah and former minister Khalid Abu Arafah have been detained for two years on the charge of entering Jerusalem “illegally,” after Israel revoked their Jerusalem IDs.

Both Tutah and Abu Arafah have also been accused of being leaders of the Hamas movement in the Jerusalem area, Abu Asab said.

The Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the 24-month imprisonment was sufficient punishment, and that the two should be released, giving the Israeli military prosecution a week to respond, he said.

The response came Wednesday that the prisoners would be released but would have to leave Jerusalem.

The two were detained by undercover Israeli forces on Jan. 23, 2012, from offices of the International Red Cross Committee in Jerusalem, Abu Asab said.

Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.

Today, the Palestinian population numbers 293,000 in a city which counts roughly 800,000 residents, UN figures show.

In 2012, Israel’s Interior Ministry revoked the residency status of 116 Jerusalem Palestinians, bringing the total number over 46 years to more than 14,000 people, according to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.

(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)

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