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Israel proposes bill to revoke residency status of Palestinians in East Jerusalem

February 20, 2018 at 1:45 pm

Israeli police stand guard at a Palestinian household as they are being forced to hand over their home to Jewish settlers in east Jerusalem on April 18 2012 [Mahfouz Abu Turk/Apaimages]

The Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation has approved a proposed bill that makes it possible to revoke the residency status of persons in occupied East Jerusalem and Golan Heights if they are convicted of engaging in anti-Israel activities, Haaretz reported.

The revocation of residency will make it possible for Israeli authorities to expel residents who are involved in the resistance against the occupation or who breach their loyalty to the State of Israel.

Israel classifies Palestinians living in East Jerusalem and Druze in the Golan Heights as “residents” and not citizens.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior, Israel has revoked the residency status of more than 14,500 Palestinians from East Jerusalem since 1967 under the pretext that they were living outside the borders drawn by the Israeli authorities for Jerusalem after its occupation in the same year.

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The new bill comes after the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in September against a decision by the interior ministry to strip four Palestinians of their Jerusalem residency over their alleged affiliation to Hamas.

The Palestinians were members of the Palestinian Legislative Council: Muhammad Abu Teir, Ahmad Attoun, Muhammad Totah, and former Palestinian Minister for Jerusalem Affairs Khaled Abu Arafeh. They were deported to Ramallah.

The court also gave the Israeli government six months to change the laws in a way that would allow it to revoke Palestinians’ East Jerusalem residency.

The ministerial committee’s approval of the bill lays the groundwork for discussing it in the Knesset and eventually passing it into law.