Palestinians can be stripped of their citizenship and made stateless; the Israeli Supreme Court ruled yesterday in a judgement that further reinforces the apartheid status of the occupation state.
Israeli citizens that are found to be in "breach of loyalty" can have their citizenship revoked, but rights groups insist that the policy will only be applied to non-Jews even if it makes them stateless.
Many countries have laws that allow revocation of citizenship, a trend that has grown over the past two decades following the start of the so called "war on terror." Though such a policy is highly controversial because it is primarily directed at non-white populations, no government has exercised such draconian powers if it makes individuals stateless.
Under international law no government is allowed to strip citizens of their citizenship if it leads to statelessness.
Yesterday's ruling addressed a 2008 Citizenship Law in Israel that gives the state authority the ability to revoke citizenship based on actions that constitute a "breach of loyalty". It came following separate appeals in the cases of two Palestinian citizens of Israel who were convicted of carrying out attacks that killed Israeli citizens. The two were handed long sentences but the state sought to strip them of citizenship.
The Supreme Court denied the removal of citizenship in these two cases based on what has been described as "serious procedural flaws" but ruled that the practice itself was constitutional, even if a person became stateless as a result.
A joint statement in response to the ruling by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) and Adalah, an Arab rights group, reported in Reuters, called the law discriminatory and said it "will likely be used exclusively against Palestinian citizens of Israel". Some 20 per cent of Israeli citizens are Palestinians. Nearly all are descendants of Israel's ethnic cleansing in 1947/48 which drove the indigenous non-Jewish population out.
"There are many cases of Jews in Israel who took part in terror and not even once has the interior ministry thought to appeal to revoke their citizenship," the ACRI's Oded Feller told Reuters. "The only cases that were submitted to the court were of Arab citizens."