Supreme Court Rejects Appeal; Clears Way for Deportations
JERUSALEM (AP) _ The Israeli Supreme Court cleared the way today for the deportation of four Palestinians accused of fomenting anti-Israeli violence.
The court rejected an appeal for a second hearing by a five-judge panel. The verdict coincided with Secretary of State James A. Baker III’s departure from Israel, where he had discussed ways of convening an Arab-Israeli peace conference.
Baker wants both sides to adopt confidence-building measures showing they are seriously seeking peace, including a halt to deportations. The United States and other Western governments oppose the measure, which they say violates Geneva Conventions regulating the treatment of civilians in occupied lands.
The families of the deportees, who are from the occupied Gaza Strip, sent a letter to the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem Tuesday appealing to Baker to intervene. Israel has expelled 63 Palestinians since the uprising against Israeli occupation began in December 1987.
Almost all have been deported to Lebanon, and Leah Tsemel, attorney for the four Gazans, said she thought they would also be sent there.
The four men - Jamal Abu Habel, 43, Muein Msalam, 31, Hashem Ali Dahlan, 31, and Jamal Abu Jdayan, 33 - were ordered expelled after a wave of Arab stabbing attacks on Israelis.
They were not accused of carrying out stabbings but of being ″organizers of violent activity.″
Msalam, Dahlan, and Abu Habel were released from Israeli jails in a May 1985 prisoner exchange. They were serving sentences for throwing grenades at Israeli army outposts or patrols.
Abu Jdayan served a 10-year sentence for planting bombs in the Israeli port of Ashdod.
All four are from families who lost their homes when Israel won statehood in 1948.