JERUSALEM (Aug. 21)
The Interior Ministry has barred Palestinian leader Faisal Husseini and at least two other Palestinian activists from leaving the country.
Husseini, 49, a resident of East Jerusalem is widely regarded by many as the foremost Palestinian nationalist leader. The authorities shut down his East Jerusalem offices a few weeks ago.
Husseini’s exit was barred for two months. Travel bans also were issued Monday against Zuhira Kamal, a leading Palestinian woman activist, and Ata Khalil Mohammad Kimri, described by authorities as a former terrorist.
Interior Minister Arye Deri said he was convinced the three would use their overseas trips to “act against the security of the state.”
He said his concern stemmed from information that they planned to meet with “elements hostile to Israel.”
Husseini, an intellectual and journalist, is founder of the Center for Arab Studies, which preached non-violent resistance to Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He has engaged frequently in dialogue with Israeli leftists and members of the peace movement.
He presently advocates a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
But right-wing Israelis accuse him of being an agent of the Palestine Liberation Organization and a senior leader of the intifada.
Knesset member Elyakim Haetzni of the prosettlement Tehiya party has demanded he be arrested, tried and either imprisoned or deported.
Husseini has spent 18 months in Israeli jails under administrative detention, which is incarceration without charges or trial.
After his release in 1988, the Likud-Labor unity government was reluctant to take further measures against him, partly because as a resident of Jerusalem he is subject to Israeli law, in contrast to West Bank residents, who are legally under military occupation.
Another reason was the support for Husseini expressed in official circles in the United States, where he is regarded as an authentic representative of the local Palestinian population.
But such factors apparently do not constrain Israel’s present Likud-led regime, especially while the United States is preoccupied with the Persian Gulf crisis and not likely to pay much attention to the treatment of Husseini.