Israel to Ban Three Palestinian Officials Over Visit to Released Prisoner

12:00 Jan 7 2023 Israel/Palestine (إسرائيل / فلسطين * ישראל פלשתינה)

Israel to Ban Three Palestinian Officials Over Visit to Released Prisoner
Palestinian officials meeting with Karim Younis (center) on Saturday [Jan 7, 2023]. Published by Haaretz

by Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury for Haaretz
Jan 7, 2023

Three top Palestinian officials will be barred from entering the country after newly-appointed Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered their permits revoked on Saturday.

The officials had met with Karim Younis, released on Thursday after 40 years in Israeli prison for kidnapping and murdering a soldier, at his home in the northern village of ‘Ara.

The three officials losing their entry permits are all members of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party: Mahmoud Aloul, Fatah’s deputy chairman; Azzam Al-Ahmad, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee; and Rawhi Fattouh, a member of Fatah’s Central Committee and the chairman of the Palestinian Central Council.

They visited the tent set up for those coming to welcome Younis N and ate lunch with him.

Younis was arrested in 1983 over the 1980 murder of Avi Bromberg and was initially given a death sentence, later reduced to life imprisonment. Shimon Peres, president at the time, commuted the sentence to 40 years in prison.

He has previously said that his worldview has evolved and that he no longer advocates violence. "I am a man of peace who promotes peace, dialogue, and negotiations," he wrote to the parole committee in 2012.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir requested that Younis' reception in his village would be monitored in an attempt to prevent celebrations over his release.

Abbas called Younis "a hero, a freedom fighter, and a person with principles" upon his released, and said he was "certain that you will continue to fight for the freedom of the Palestinian people."

Earlier this week, Interior Minister Arye Dery asked the attorney general to revoke the citizenship of Younis and his collaborator and relative Maher Younis, who is expected to be released later this month.
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