Israel's Supreme Court has told the Minister of the Interior that it is minded to overturn the deportation order he issued on June 30 against Jerusalemite members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and a former minister. The minister has 90 days in which to respond to the court's decision.
The deportation order called for the cancellation of the Jerusalem residence permits for the three Palestinian legislators and the former minister on the grounds that they were not loyal to Israel. However, the Supreme Court has said that Israeli laws don't provide such power explicitly to Israeli ministers, and there are no bills currently proposed regarding the cancellation of permanent residence permits for those born in East Jerusalem on the grounds of loyalty or for any other reasons.
The MPs and the former minister welcomed the court's decision, describing it as "a step in the right direction". They said that Jerusalemites have an inherent right to reside in their city, a right that cannot be removed by Israel's policies aimed at the "ethnic cleansing" of the city.
"The court's decision was late," said the men, who are seeking refuge in the grounds of the International Red Cross in Jerusalem, "but at least it was a correction to a long list of negatives and retreats at the judicial level with regard to our case."
The elected PLC members added that the court's decision confirmed what they have long thought; that the deportation order was a political decision without any legal foundation. "The expulsion of residents of an occupied territory amounts to a war crime and a crime against humanity," they said. "Contrary to what the Israeli government intends, it is Israel which should end its occupation of Palestinian territories." The holy city is, the men pointed out, still regarded as "occupied" by international law and conventions.