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Two West Bank Families Permitted to Return Home

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Two West Bank Arab families were permitted today to return to their homes from which they were banished by Israeli authorities last week because of stoning incidents allegedly involving family members. The internal deportation orders against the Shumoli family of Beit Sahour near Bethlehem, and the Kaaba family of Balata village near Nablus, were rescinded by Defense Minister Ezer Weizman despite objections raised by Military Government officials.

They had been removed last Friday to an abandoned refugee camp in the Dead Sea volley where the only living quarters are crumbling clay huts without lights or other utilities. The Military Government’s action was protested by many Israelis. The Shumali family filed on appeal with the Supreme Court accusing the Military Government of collective punishment in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Jurists in the defense establishment expressed doubts that the banishment would stand up to a court challenge. The Defense Ministry said it was reversing the order for humanitarian reasons. It was the second time in less than a year that the Defense Ministry reversed a deportation order. The earlier case involved Mayor Bassam Shaka of Nablus who was to have been expelled for anti-Israel remarks he allegedly made in the course of a private conversation with a Military Government official.

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