«The Israeli government say we are disloyal to Israel because we are members of the Palestinian parliament», Muhammad Totah says. He is one of four PLC members/deputies who in 2006 were arrested and later deported from Jerusalem.
«East Jerusalem is our home,» Totah says. «We have lived here all our lives, our families have lived here for generations! And now we have to «hide» here at the ICRC so that we won’t get arrested. Where we should be, is home with our families..» Totah himself lives only 500 meters from the ICRC headquarter.
Many internationals visit the sit-in tent in Jerusalem. Totah tells us that both poleticians, foreign ministers, state secretarys, former US president Carter, and other statesmen has been to the tent and expressed their solidarity.
Totah says they are thankful for all the visits and they all appreciate what the internationals say. «It’s important for us to know that we aren’t alone,» he says. Still he’s disappointed that nothing has happened so far. «The UN does nothing. Ban Ki Moon is looking with one eye. He’s afraid of Israel..»
In the 2006 legislative elections, Khaled Abu-Arafeh, Ahmad Attoun, Muhammad Totah and Muhammad Abu Tier were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and the government. The same year, a large number om Palestinian deputies and ministers (including the three «ICRC refugees» and Abu Tier) were arrested by the Israeli authorities on account of their participation in the PLC and the Hamas government. They were prosecuted before Israeli military courts, and sentenced for 2-4 years in prison. The deputies and ministers have all completed their sentences.
After being released from prison, the Israeli police confiscated their ID cards and they were not allowed to enter Jerusalem for one month. When this month had finished, Israeli authorities arrested Muhammed Abu Teir. He is still in prison. The other three are «refugees» in a tent at ICRC’s headquarter in Jerusalem. They have now been there for 443 days.
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