Slapped with Israeli sanctions, a group of legislators from the Islamic militant group Hamas plans to appeal to Israel's High Court. Israeli-Arab parliament members have set off a political storm by throwing their support behind the Hamas legislators.
Three Hamas Palestinian parliament members and a Cabinet minister will appeal to Israel's Supreme Court against the government's decision to revoke their Jerusalem residency rights.
Israel decided on the move after Hamas described a Palestinian suicide bombing that killed nine civilians this week in Tel Aviv as an act of "legitimate resistance." Under the decision, the Hamas legislators will be stripped of their Israeli identity cards, which grant them permanent residency in Jerusalem, freedom of movement in Israel and social security benefits.
Israeli spokesman Mark Regev says it is a legal response to involvement in terrorism.
"If you look at international law, if someone is not a citizen, if someone is a resident, and a resident is acting against the interests of the host country, if someone is not doing anything to stop suicide bombings of innocent civilians, if someone is justifying the murder of innocent civilians in suicide bombings, you have every right to renounce their residency," he said.
Three Israeli-Arab members of the Knesset, Israel's parliament, rushed to the aid of the Hamas legislators, and held a controversial solidarity meeting with them.
Israeli-Arab legislator Taleb A-Sanaa told Israel Radio that it is illegal for the government to remove Palestinian residents from their land and homes in Jerusalem.
Jewish Knesset members were furious because under the law, it is forbidden for Israelis to meet with Hamas.
Hawkish Israeli parliamentarian Effi Eitam said that even in a democracy, it is absurd for Knesset members to be meeting with the leaders of a terrorist group like Hamas that seeks Israel's destruction. Some politicians said the Arab legislators should be charged with treason.