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>Israel Faxx
>JN May 7, 1997, Vol. 5, Number 82

Marzook Lawyer Denounces U.S. Justice

By Max Ruston (VOA-New York), Mahmoud Zawawi (VOA-Amman)

The deportation from the United States to Jordan of Hamas political leader Mousa abu Marzook is being denounced by his lawyers Tuesday as a subversion of the US justice system. US immigration authorities reject those charges, saying the deportation was legal and justified.

Lawyer Michael Kennedy charges the US Immigration & Naturalization Service pursued abu Marzook in collusion with US judicial authorities and the Israeli government, to prevent him from participating in Middle East politics during a crucial period.

"I think the primary motivation was to take Dr. abu Marzook, who is an extremely influential Palestinian leader, to take him out of the mix and out of the conversation with reference to the peace process in the Middle East."

Another of abu Marzook's lawyers, Stanley Cohen, is urging the Hamas leader to sue the Israeli government for $200 million because of his detention and deportation. Most of abu Marzook's time in detention in the United States was the result of an Israeli request for his extradition to face terrorist charges. That request was dropped earlier this year, after abu Marzook said he would not oppose it.

Abu Marzook was detained on arrival in New York in July 1995, because his name was on a list of people suspected of terrorist activities. The immigration service began deportation proceedings shortly after his detention, but those proceedings were suspended when Israel requested his extradition. The deportation proceedings resumed last month and resulted in his departure for Jordan.

Abu Marzook denies any role in terrorist activities saying his role in Hamas is entirely political. But US authorities say his fundraising and other activities have played an instrumental role in terrorist acts allegedly committed by Hamas.

Immigration service spokesman Russ Bergeron says the proceedings against abu Marzook were entirely legal and justified. He rejects charges that the US justice system was subverted in abu Marzook's case. "From the standpoint of the immigration service this is a highly satisfactory resolution to this issue. The purpose of the charges that were filed against abu Marzook in immigration proceedings were to prevent him from entering the United States and to find him deportable. That is exactly the outcome that was achieved, so we are very satisfied with the results of the proceedings."
Abu Marzook was a legal resident of the United States since 1982 and his wife and children remain in the country. Under the deportation agreement reached between abu Marzook and the immigration service, the 46 year old Hamas leader agrees to relinquish his permanent resident status in the United States and says he will not challenge the US decision to deport him.

Speaking to reporters at his home in Amman Tuesday, abu Marzook pledged to continue to work for Hamas. "I will continue in political activities," he said. "Naturally, the motives that made me stand with the hopes and aspirations of my people still exist. I have still a lot to do to serve my people and help them achieve their aspirations."

During the news conference abu Marzook refused to condemn acts of violence against Israelis. "Palestinians had no choice but to fight for their rights as long as Israel was not ready to concede them," the Hamas leader said. Abu Marzouk also thanked Jordan's King Hussein for welcoming him back to Jordan. He said Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat had called his family to congratulate them on his release.

Weizman Holds Talks with Arafat

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Israeli President Ezer Weizman says he succeeded, at least in part, in improving the atmosphere of Israeli-Palestinian Relations in his meeting Tuesday evening with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat.

Weizman said the meeting improved Israeli-Palestinian relations by what he called "a certain percentage," and that made it a success. But he also indicated there is more work to do before the Israeli-Palestinian peace process can make significant advances. Weizman said he went to meet with Arafat as an "ice breaker" and he hopes the Palestinian leader will soon meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Arafat said he remains committed to the peace process and to working with Israel to maintain security -- a key Israeli demand. But it is not clear whether he is ready to resume the level of cooperation Israel wants. There was no indication of any progress on the main Israeli-Palestinian dispute -- Israel's construction of a new Jewish neighborhood in east Jerusalem.

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