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Occupation revokes 287 Jerusalemites' residencies, including children

View of the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound in Jerusalem on 23 July 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]
The Dome of the Rock Mosque can be seen in the centre of the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem on 23 July 2017 [Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency]

The Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Centre revealed that the Israeli occupation authorities revoked 287 female and male Jerusalemites resident permits. This includes seven children, between January 2013 and August 2017.

In a press statement, the Centre explained that according to figures it obtained from the Ministry of the Interior in occupied Jerusalem, 17 Jerusalemites, including two children, have lost their residency during the first eight months of this year. The Centres considers revoking permits to be a serious violation of rights.

The Centre also said that the number of residencies revoked during this year is lower than the previous four years, when the average annual revocation of residencies was 67.5.

The Centre's Statement said that it is difficult to identify a single reason for this decrease. Though it may be due to logistical conditions as the Ministry of the Interior of the occupation in Jerusalem which might have forced it to slow down or temporarily disable the procedures of the residencies revoking.

It postulated that Jerusalemites may be more aware of the factors that may lead to the revocation of their residencies.

The Centre added that the occupation authorities are using various pretexts to revoke the residencies of the Jerusalemites, the most noticeable of which is the policy of "centre of life."

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Under this policy, Jerusalemites lose their residencies if the Ministry of the Interior considers that they have transferred their "centre of life" outside Jerusalem, even if they have not obtained any other residency and even if this was a move to a nearby city in the West Bank.

The staff of the Ministry of the Interior has a considerable discretionary power which allows it to arbitrarily revoke the residencies, because the definition of "centre of life" is loose and vague.

In addition to the policy of "centre of life," the occupation authorities use the revocation of residencies as a punitive tool against Jerusalemites who are accused of carrying out operations against Israeli targets. These punitive measures may affect the families of the perpetrators.

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This procedure falls under the category of collective punishment which is prohibited by customary international humanitarian law, specifically under Article 40 of the 1907 Hague Convention relative to respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land and Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

The Jerusalem Centre stressed that the revocation of Jerusalemites' residencies constitutes a legal form of forced displacement, whether on the basis of punishment or as a result of the arbitrary policy of "centre of life" adopted by the occupation to displace Jerusalemites or turn them into illegal residents in their city.

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