A new Israeli law that allows the Interior Minister to revoke residency of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem for “disloyalty” is illegal, two rights groups have charged.
In a joint press release, Adalah – The Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, HaMoked: Centre for the Defence of the Individual, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) accuse Israeli authorities of pursuing a measure that is illegal under international law.
On 7 March, the Israeli parliament passed into law the legislation by a vote of 48-18, giving Interior Minister Aryeh Deri the power “to revoke the Israeli identity card and permanent residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians, leading to eviction from the city of their birth”, the NGOs said.
The new law was a response to an Israeli Supreme Court decision in September 2017, accepting a petition filed against the revocation of Israeli residency permits of four Palestinian parliamentarians from East Jerusalem.
However, the court also effectively gave the Israeli government six months to change the law, so as “to permit the revocation of residency for ‘breach of loyalty’.”
According to the three Israeli NGOs, “this law is unconstitutional and is intended to result in the illegal expulsion of Palestinians from Jerusalem, the city of their birth”.
Even though the revocation of residency entails a severe violation of basic rights – including the right to family, the right to free movement, and the right to freedom of employment – members of the Knesset nevertheless chose to grant the interior minister the authority to do as he wishes.
The statement further noted that “East Jerusalem is occupied territory, and its Palestinian residents are a protected population under international humanitarian law. It is therefore forbidden to impose upon them an obligation of loyalty to Israel, let alone revoke their permanent residency status for ‘breach of loyalty,’ essentially resulting in their expulsion from the city.”