HaMoked to the Minister of Interior, the Knesset and the Attorney General: Cancel the Amendment allowing revocation of permanent status of the indigenous Palestinian population of East Jerusalem המוקד להגנת הפרט
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13.09.2022
HaMoked to the Minister of Interior, the Knesset and the Attorney General: Cancel the Amendment allowing revocation of permanent status of the indigenous Palestinian population of East Jerusalem
HaMoked to the Minister of Interior, the Knesset and the Attorney General: Cancel the Amendment allowing revocation of permanent status of the indigenous Palestinian population of East Jerusalem

In March 2018, an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law entered into effect, authorizing the Minister of Interior to revoke permanent residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians for “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel”, and bring about their expulsion from the city of their birth, which was illegally annexed to the State of Israel. As of the end of 2021, the Ministry of Interior revoked the status of six Jerusalem Palestinians on these grounds.

HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice in September 2019 to cancel this amendment (Section 11(a) of the Law), but had to withdraw its petition because the Court sought to first rule on the constitutionality of Section 11(b)(2) of the Citizenship Law, which allows the revocation of citizenship due to “breach of allegiance to the State”. The issue was reviewed in the framework of the appeal in the matter of Zayud, filed by ACRI and Adalah. On July 21, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in Zayud that on the constitutional level, there was no flaw in revoking citizenship “and provided that the substitute status given to those left without citizenship due to the revocation of his Israeli citizenship be permanent status… whether a license of permanent residency or another permanent license to be established by the legislator”.

Therefore, on September 12, 2022, and before turning again to the HCJ, HaMoked wrote via attorney Adi Lustigman to the Minister of Interior, the Knesset and the Attorney General to demand the revocation of Section 11(a) of the Entry into Israel Law. HaMoked asserted that the Amendment was immoral, illegal and contrary to international humanitarian law, which prohibits imposing a duty of allegiance on protected persons living in occupied territory. The Law’s purpose was improper, HaMoked claimed, as it was not intended to protect public security or public peace but to impose further punishment, alongside that imposed under the Israeli penal law, on Palestinians holding permanent residency status and belonging to the indigenous population of East Jerusalem – who have not pledged allegiance nor owe any duty of allegiance to the State of Israel.

The Law is disproportionately harmful and does not match the values of the State of Israel, the letter argues. The Law severely undermines the right to residency “which encompasses?? a variety of rights that can only be realized through permanent residency in the State, among them the rights to dignity, liberty, family life, health, employment, freedom of movement and more”. HaMoked clarified that downgrading status from permanent to temporary residency constituted a severe violation of rights with far-reaching consequences. Hence, among other things, the Law fails to comply with the limitations clause set in the Israeli Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. HaMoked noted that in Zayud, the Supreme Court ruled that revoking citizenship for “breach of allegiance” was constitutional given citizenship’s unique status and declarative purpose, and provided that its cancelation led to nothing less than grant of permanent residency. The unavoidable conclusion of this ruling is that revoking permanent residency for breach of allegiance “and particularly from indigenous residents, whose status is very similar to the status of citizens”, is blatantly unconstitutional and must be invalidated.

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In March 2018, an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law entered into effect, authorizing the Minister of Interior to revoke permanent residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians for “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel”, and bring about their expulsion from the city of their birth, which was illegally annexed to the State of Israel. As of the end of 2021, the Ministry of Interior revoked the status of six Jerusalem Palestinians on these grounds.

HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice in September 2019 to cancel this amendment (Section 11(a) of the Law), but had to withdraw its petition because the Court sought to first rule on the constitutionality of Section 11(b)(2) of the Citizenship Law, which allows the revocation of citizenship due to “breach of allegiance to the State”. The issue was reviewed in the framework of the appeal in the matter of Zayud, filed by ACRI and Adalah. On July 21, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in Zayud that on the constitutional level, there was no flaw in revoking citizenship “and provided that the substitute status given to those left without citizenship due to the revocation of his Israeli citizenship be permanent status… whether a license of permanent residency or another permanent license to be established by the legislator”.

Therefore, on September 12, 2022, and before turning again to the HCJ, HaMoked wrote via attorney Adi Lustigman to the Minister of Interior, the Knesset and the Attorney General to demand the revocation of Section 11(a) of the Entry into Israel Law. HaMoked asserted that the Amendment was immoral, illegal and contrary to international humanitarian law, which prohibits imposing a duty of allegiance on protected persons living in occupied territory. The Law’s purpose was improper, HaMoked claimed, as it was not intended to protect public security or public peace but to impose further punishment, alongside that imposed under the Israeli penal law, on Palestinians holding permanent residency status and belonging to the indigenous population of East Jerusalem – who have not pledged allegiance nor owe any duty of allegiance to the State of Israel.

The Law is disproportionately harmful and does not match the values of the State of Israel, the letter argues. The Law severely undermines the right to residency “which encompasses?? a variety of rights that can only be realized through permanent residency in the State, among them the rights to dignity, liberty, family life, health, employment, freedom of movement and more”. HaMoked clarified that downgrading status from permanent to temporary residency constituted a severe violation of rights with far-reaching consequences. Hence, among other things, the Law fails to comply with the limitations clause set in the Israeli Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. HaMoked noted that in Zayud, the Supreme Court ruled that revoking citizenship for “breach of allegiance” was constitutional given citizenship’s unique status and declarative purpose, and provided that its cancelation led to nothing less than grant of permanent residency. The unavoidable conclusion of this ruling is that revoking permanent residency for breach of allegiance “and particularly from indigenous residents, whose status is very similar to the status of citizens”, is blatantly unconstitutional and must be invalidated.

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