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Carter Center Calls for End to East Jerusalem Deportations, Respect for International Law

Contact: Deborah Hakes, 1-404-420-5124

Atlanta, GA….The Carter Center expresses deep concern about the revocation of Jerusalem residency rights for three members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC): Muhammad Abu-Teir, Ahmad Attoun, and Muhammad Totah, as well as the former Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Khaled Abu Arafeh. They are affiliated with Hamas, and Israeli authorities stated that they would be allowed to remain in Jerusalem only if they renounce their association with the PLC, to which three of them were elected.

Expelling these officials from Jerusalem is a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Expulsion based on political affiliation would set a particularly dangerous precedent.

"Revoking residency rights of these PLC members is another example of Israeli policy designed to change unilaterally the character of Palestinian East Jerusalem," said former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. "Home demolitions, settlement construction, the separation of East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank and its annexation to Israel, and long-standing efforts to push Palestinian residents out of the city are violations of international law, which may make the creation of a viable Palestinian state impossible. I call upon the Quartet for Middle East Peace to demand that Israel respect international law in East Jerusalem, including reinstating residency for these PLC members."

In May 2006, then-Israeli Interior Minister Roni Bar-On revoked the residency of the four PLC members, arguing that they were residents of Israel and therefore obliged to be loyal to Israel, and that their membership in the PLC indicated their allegiance to the Palestinian Authority. Subsequently, all four were arrested by Israeli authorities, prosecuted by military courts, and sentenced to two to four-year prison terms. Following their releases, they were summoned by Israeli police and had their Jerusalem identification documents confiscated. Abu-Teir is currently in Israeli custody, while the other three have sought refuge in the International Committee of the Red Cross compound in East Jerusalem.


The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production.

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