A professor of international law has revealed that the most recent poll published by the Israeli occupation forces indicate that Israel has revoked the “permanent residence” status of 14,087 Palestinian Jerusalemites in the period 1967 to 2011. Dr Hanna Essa’s findings were presented by the WAFA official news agency in the context of the extension of a law preventing the reunification of Palestinian families where one partner is a non-Israeli citizen.
When East Jerusalem was occupied in 1967, said Dr Essa, its residents were not given Israeli citizenship, but were granted “permanent residence” instead, even though Israel annexed – illegally, says the international community – the city to itself. After conducting a census, a large number of Jerusalemites were denied their rights and family ties and were considered “absent” because they were not in Jerusalem at the time that it was occupied.
Citizenship in Israel means receiving full social and political rights, including the right to be elected as a Member of the Knesset (parliament), the right to vote in public elections and the right to receive social allowances, most importantly health insurance. In addition, an Israeli citizen can migrate anywhere in the world without losing their citizenship and right to return to Israel at any time.
However, according to Essa, a “permanent resident” does not have such political rights. They must prove their residence in Jerusalem or Israel before receiving any of the rights provided by the National Insurance Institute, such as health insurance, child allowance, pension, unemployment benefits, etc., or any services from the Ministry of the Interior, such as the issuance of ID cards, travel documents and marriage, birth and death certificates.
The Israeli Minister of Interior has the authority to revoke “permanent residence” according to article (11 A) of the Entry of Israel Regulations. This article provides explicitly for the possibility of revoking “permanent residence” status in specific cases, including residence outside Israel for at least seven years, obtaining a permanent residency permit in another country, or obtaining citizenship of another country by naturalisation. None of these apply to Israeli citizens.
Essa noted that successive Israeli occupation governments have implemented this law in order to empty Jerusalem of its Palestinian residents as part of the state’s ongoing ethnic cleansing policy.