Center for the Defence of the Individual - After a two-year delay and following HaMoked’s petition: The Ministry of Interior announced it no longer intends to revoke the status of two East Jerusalemites involved in an attack
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After a two-year delay and following HaMoked’s petition: The Ministry of Interior announced it no longer intends to revoke the status of two East Jerusalemites involved in an attack

“We wish to inform you that despite the severity of the acts, it has been decided not to cancel the permanent residency license of Mr. ____ Atrash and Mr. ____ Abu Kaf”. Thus was HaMoked notified by the Ministry of Interior on September 7, 2020, 28 months after demanding the Ministry of Interior reach this rightful decision, and just hours after petitioning the Court for Administrative Affairs regarding the prolonged failure to make a decision.

Thus ended the two men’s saga which began in January 2016, when the Minister of Interior revoked their permanent residency status in Israel, along with that of two others, all of them from East Jerusalem. The grounds for the revocation was that the four, who were accused of involvement in attacks against Israelis, breached their allegiance to the State of Israel. HaMoked’s petitions against the revocation of the four’s status were deleted following the High Court of Justice’s decision in a parallel, public-interest case (HCJ 7803/06), in which the court had ruled that the Minister was not authorized to revoke status due to breach of allegiance, but allowed the State to enact an appropriate law. On March 7, 2018, the Knesset enacted an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law, 5712-1952 (Sect. 11A), granting the Minister the authority to revoke the residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians on these grounds and even deport them from their occupied and annexed native city.

Some two weeks later, on March 19, 2018, the Minister of Interior sent HaMoked notices of his intent to revoke the four’s status pursuant to the new Amendment. In its written arguments against the Minister’s notices, submitted April 8, 2018, HaMoked asserted that these notices were wholly invalid, as the Amendment pursuant to which they were issued was completely contrary to Israel’s obligations under international law, including international humanitarian law – especially when dealing with people belonging to the indigenous, protected population of East Jerusalem. No response arrived regarding Mr. Atrash and Mr. Abu Kaf, and they remained under the threat of revocation. The status of the two other men was revoked, and HaMoked’s petitions on their behalf are still pending.

About a year later, HaMoked petitioned the Court for Administrative Affairs to demand a response concerning Mr. Atrash and Mr. Abu Kaf. On July 16, 2019, the state asked for more time to respond – and not for the first time in the case – arguing that no damage arose from the delay of the decision on the intent to revoke their status. On July 29, 2019, after the state agreed to the court’s suggestion to provide an advance notice to the petitioners in the event of a decision to revoke their status, the court ruled the petition had run its course, saying: “it cannot be ruled out that at a certain point the duty would arise… to give a definite notice of whether [the Minister] intends to promote the step of status revocation or whether it is no longer on the agenda”.

HaMoked’s repeated reminders to the Ministry were left unanswered. It should be noted that in the interim, in September 2019, HaMoked petitioned the HCJ to cancel Section 11A of the Entry into Israel Law which allows revocation of permanent status on the grounds of breach of allegiance; this, in the framework of petitions to reverse the Ministry of Interior’s decision to revoke the status of two other East Jerusalem residents, which are also still pending.

Finally, on September 7, 2020, over two years after HaMoked submitted its arguments against the intended status revocation, HaMoked petitioned the court once more to demand a final response in the matter. A few hours later, the Ministry of Interior sent its response, saying the Minister of Interior had reversed his decision to revoke the status of the two men.