The Supreme Court enjoined the Israeli authorities Sunday not to implement deportation orders against Palestinian activist Mubarak Awad for at least three days.
It announced it would begin hearings Monday morning on Awad’s appeal.
The high court issued the restraining order as the United States was reportedly exerting strong pressure on Premier Yitzhak Shamir to rescind the deportation orders he signed Friday as acting interior minister.
Awad, who lived in the United States for 15 years before returning to his native East Jerusalem in 1985 to found the Center for the Study of Non-Violence, was arrested shortly after midnight Friday at his home.
While Awad has preached civil disobedience instead of violent confrontations with Israeli security forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, he was accused of abetting violence in a lengthy statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office Friday. Authorities claim his center is funded by terrorist organizations.
LETTER FROM SHULTZ
U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz was reported to have personally intervened against the expulsion order. Voice of Israel Radio reported Sunday that Shultz sent a letter to Shamir urging Israel to reconsider.
The radio report quoted “reliable sources” in Washington who said Shultz was “angered” by the order to oust Awad, because of the secretary’s sensitivity to human rights issues.
David Good, a spokesman for the American Consulate in East Jerusalem, said Sunday that the U.S. government views Awad “as someone who supports non-violence and reconciliation between Palestinians and Israelis.”
As such, Good said, the United States does not believe that he should be forced to leave. Good reiterated the State Department’s view, expounded in a statement Friday, that if “the government of Israel feels that he (A wad) has been engaged in illegal activity, then he should be allowed to defend himself” in a legal process.
Sources here said the government would not respond to the American arguments until Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled on the case.
In his appeal to the court, Awad argued that the reason he was ordered deported was that the political authorities needed a scapegoat or to “show muscle.”
ALIEN STATUS IN QUESTION
The appeal, however, contains no response to Israeli charges that he is a security risk. Awad’s lawyer, Jonathan Kutab, noted that those charges do not appear in the expulsion order.
The authorities contend he is in the country illegally because his tourist visa expired last Nov. 22. Awad’s appeal maintains he cannot be deported as an illegal alien, because he was born in East Jerusalem and was living there when Israeli law was imposed in 1967.
Awad was originally ordered to leave the country last Nov. 20, or be expelled when his visa expired two days later. Premier Shamir was visiting the United States at the time, and American appeals against his ouster prevailed.
Awad reportedly hesitated before appealing to Israel’s highest court this time, because of Palestinian arguments that by doing so he was acknowledging the right of the Israeli courts to decide his fate.
His lawyers convinced him, however, that legal means were his last resort if political efforts on his behalf fail.
INSTIGATOR OF UNREST
The Prime Minister’s Office charged Friday that Awad was one of the main instigators of the five-month-old Palestinian uprising in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and poses a danger to the security of the state and public order.
According to the statement, Awad participated in the preparation of Bulletin No. 15 issued last month by the clandestine unified command of the Palestinian uprising, which “included directives for violent and hostile activity against the state.”
Bulletin 15 urged the Palestinians in the territories “to strike painful blows at the fascist entity,” and to “boycott Israeli merchandise in order to induce the collapse of the economic and social structure of the Zionist entity.”
It also called on Arab merchants in Jerusalem “to reject the order of the authorities regarding the opening of stores and to refuse to pay taxes,” the Prime Minister’s Office reported.
The statement linked Awad to the Palestine Liberation Organization. It quoted him as saying in a March 22 speech: “The PLO wants the entire Palestine — and I agree . . . Palestine for me is the Galilee, Acre, Ashdod — everything. This is Palestine for me.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.