Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday met in Ramallah with four senior Hamas figures who are facing expulsion from Jerusalem, the Ma’an News Agency reported.
“We are following up on this issue with sincerity and sensitivity considering its significance,” Abbas told Hamas legislators Ahmed Attoun, Mohammed Totah and Muhammad Abu Tir, as well as former Hamas Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Khaled Abu Arafeh. “We cannot stand idly by while people are expelled from their homeland, which we consider a crime.”
The Palestinian leader told the Hamas figures that the Palestinian Authority has contacted several countries including Israel and the US, in an effort to thwart Israel’s plan to strip four elected members of the Legislative Council of their Jerusalem residency.
Addressing the proximity talks with Israel, Abbas reiterated the PA’s position that “the moment progress is achieved on the two issues we brought up with the Americans, borders and security, we will not object to returning to direct talks.”
Speaking on behalf of the lawmakers, Ahmad A’toun praised “the president’s efforts and his deep concern on the issue of our deportations from Jerusalem. We want to thank the Palestinian leadership for its great efforts.”
A’toun added that even though the four parliament members belong to the same party, they do not represent any faction but rather “the interests of the holy city as elected lawmakers under the law.”