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Israel restricts Hamas' residency after suicide bombing
El Yunis grieves Tuesday at a funeral for her mother, who was killed in the attack.


Tel Aviv (Israel)

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israel will revoke Jerusalem residency rights for Hamas lawmakers in response to a Tel Aviv suicide bombing that killed nine people, an Israeli government spokesman said Tuesday.

Although the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for Monday's attack, Israeli government spokesman Ra'anan Gissin said Israel would hold the Hamas-led government of the Palestinian Authority responsible.

"They are the government now, they are responsible for the lives of the Palestinian people. ... They are bringing them death and carnage by allowing other terror organizations to carry out these terrorist attacks," Gissin said.

"Hamas can choose to sacrifice its ideology for the sake of its people or sacrifice its people for this murderous ideology."

Gissin spoke after a meeting Tuesday morning between Israel's Prime Minister-designate Ehud Olmert and his top ministers to consider Israel's response to the bombing.

Gissin said Israel would revoke Israeli residency status for Hamas ministers and Palestinian parliament members.

Palestinian ministers who live in East Jerusalem carry blue Israeli identity cards and enjoy all the benefits of Israeli citizens, including subsidized health care. Those benefits were extended to Palestinians living in East Jerusalem when Israel captured the area during the 1967 Mideast War and annexed it.

Hamas, like Islamic Jihad, calls for Israel's destruction. After its election victory, the Hamas-led government refused to meet demands by Western nations to renounce violence and recognize the Jewish state's right to exist, although it has maintained a cease-fire. (Watch masked Islamic Jihad members claim responsibility for the attack -- 2:08)

The United States, European Union and Israel consider Hamas a terrorist organization. The United States also considers Islamic Jihad a terrorist organization.

Ghazi Hamad, a spokesman for the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority government, said the authority could control militants if Israel stopped attacks against Palestinians.

"If Israel is ready now to stop all kinds of attacks and aggression against our people, we can keep the situation calm there also," Hamad said.

On Monday, a Hamas spokesman said the attack, which also killed the bomber, was a justifiable act of "self-defense" in response to Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories.

That response contrasted sharply with the reaction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who condemned the attack and said it was against the best interests of the Palestinian people. Abbas belongs to the Fatah Party, which Hamas defeated in January 25 Palestinian parliamentary elections.

Palestinian militant groups demanded an apology from Abbas on Tuesday. A masked gunman read the demand as part of a statement at an open-air news conference in Gaza City.

'They never give us a chance'

Hamad said it wouldn't be difficult to persuade Palestinian militants to stop their attacks, but he blamed Israel for thwarting his government's efforts. "They never give us a chance to talk with people," Hamad said.

Pressed on whether the Palestinian Authority could actually stop the attacks, Hamad said, "If we arrest everyone and put them in jail, who can give a guarantee that the Israelis will stop their aggression against our people?"

Movement toward a peace, he said, should proceed along parallel lines, with action on both sides.

"We are not against political compromise," Hamad said. "If our problems can be solved by peaceful means, we are not against this. ... The question is on the Israeli side. They don't want to be convinced there is a Palestinian partner who can talk."

Israel: It's up to Hamas

During their meeting Tuesday, Olmert and the Israeli ministers also discussed whether to declare the Hamas-led Palestinian government an enemy entity.

But CNN sources said the decision was made not to make that declaration for now.

Olmert said on Monday that Israel would respond appropriately to the attack.

Asked if the Israeli government will take military steps in response to the bombing, Gissin said the choice of action is up to Hamas.

The Olmert meeting came hours after Israeli forces arrested the bomber's father in Akra, near the West Bank town of Jenin, said Palestinian security sources.

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