Middle East

Israel revokes residency of Jerusalem attacker's widow

Nadia Abu Jamal holds her son at the home in East Jerusalem (26 November 2014) Image copyright AFP
Image caption Nadia Abu Jamal is believed to have been married to Ghassan Abu Jamal, with whom she had a son

Israel has revoked the residency rights of the widow of one of the two Palestinian men who killed five people at a synagogue in Jerusalem last week.

Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said those involved in such an attack had to realise that there were likely to be repercussions for their families.

A human rights group condemned the move, saying Mr Erdan was inflicting a form of collective punishment.

The attack came at a time of rising political tensions in Jerusalem.

'Abuse of authority'

The two Palestinians, who were shot dead at the Kehilat Bnai Torah synagogue after killing four rabbis and a police officer, were cousins from occupied Arab East Jerusalem.

Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal were therefore entitled under Israeli government regulations to residency rights, although not to citizenship, says the BBC's Kevin Connolly.

The right to apply for citizenship exists but is rarely exercised and rarely granted.

Under what is known as a "family reunification" rule, Palestinians elsewhere can apply for the right to live with a husband or wife in East Jerusalem once they are married.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Thousands attended the funerals for the victims of the synagogue attack

That is the right that Israel said it was revoking in the case of Nadia Abu Jamal, who is believed to have been married to Ghassan Abu Jamal.

In a statement, Mr Erdan said: "Anyone who is involved in terror has to take into account that there will be consequences for their family members too."

Our correspondent says Israel has used the same argument to reintroduce the practice of blowing up the houses of Palestinians linked to other recent killings.

The Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem, said Mrs Abu Jamal was being banished from her home.

"We object to this measure. It's abuse of a minister's authority and a form of collective punishment," spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli told the AFP news agency.

"Residency and social benefits... aren't gifts or favours the authorities bestow and can then take away. They're essential aspects of people's existence," she added.

On Sunday, Israel revoked the residency rights of a Palestinian man convicted of driving a suicide bomber to a nightclub in Tel Aviv in 2001, where he killed 21 people.

Mahmoud Nadi had served a 10-year prison sentence for his role in the attack.