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Israeli Lawmakers Meet Hamas Counterparts to Show Support
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Three Israeli Arab Knesset (parliament) members met Hamas legislators Wednesday afternoon in East Jerusalem to show their opposition to an Israeli cabinet decision to revoke four senior Hamas officials' residency status in Jerusalem, the Ha'aretz reported.

The three Knesset members, all from the United Arab List-Ta'al party, met their Palestinian counterparts at the house of Hamas lawmaker Mohammed Abu Tir, one day after Israeli cabinet made the decision to revoke their residency following a suicide bombing attack in Tel Aviv.

Party Chairman Talab El-Sana claimed before the meeting that the decision of revocation was not balanced.

Some Israeli officials slammed Arab lawmakers for their show of support to the Palestinian parliament members.

Kadima lawmaker Yoel Hasson was quoted as saying that "the Arab MKs once again demonstrated that their loyalty lies with the Palestinian (National) Authority and its leadership and not with the State of Israel."

He called on the government to check if the meeting amounts to treason, according to Yedioth Ahronoth, another popular local daily.

Israel decided on Tuesday to revoke four senior Hamas officials' permanent residency in Jerusalem, as part of the measures responding to the Tel Aviv attack on Monday, which left nine people dead and dozens wounded.

The Hamas-led Palestinian government refused to denounce Monday's attack claimed by the Islamic Jihad (Holy War), but defended it as an act of self-defense.

After the revocation of their residency, the four Hamas officials would be forced to move to the West Bank. They plan to appeal to Israeli Supreme Court against the government decision, Palestinian Justice Minister Ahmed Khaldi said on Wednesday.

Most of the Palestinians in Jerusalem hold permanent residency cards as they rejected Israel's offer of citizenship. The Jerusalem residency rights have never been revoked for punitive reasons before.

(Xinhua News Agency April 20, 2006)

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