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NGOs: Israeli government must halt revocation of residency status

Israel’s Interior Minister Silvan Shalom has been urged to halt the revoking of residency rights of Palestinians from East Jerusalem suspected to have carried out attacks.

In a letter to Shalom, attorneys from Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) described “revocation of status” as “a very extreme measure characteristic of oppressive totalitarian regimes.”

Referencing reports that Shalom intends to revoke the permanent residency status of two East Jerusalem residents “due to suspicion of their involvement in security incidents”, Sawsan Zaher (Adalah) and Oded Feller (ACRI) state that to do so “contravenes international law.”

As East Jerusalem is occupied territory, the attorneys note, “both international human rights conventions and international humanitarian law apply to this area.”

These norms do not permit the expulsion of protected persons on the basis of breach of trust, and even forbid requiring them to swear loyalty to the occupying force (article 47 of the fourth Geneva Convention and article 45 of the Hague Convention).

The letter also states that “the right to citizenship and status must be defended equally”, adding that “even though Jews have also been involved in severe security and criminal incidents, and some of them have also been sentenced, the status of residency or citizenship has never been revoked from a Jewish person for reasons of ‘breach of trust.’”

Every time the Minister of Interior has ordered a revocation of status for any reason, or considers doing so, the subject is always an Arab resident or citizen. This is nothing other than using status revocation as a tool to send a degrading and discriminatory message that the status of Arab citizens and residents is not to be taken for granted.

Click here to view the full letter

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