Center for the Defence of the Individual - Revocation of permanent residency in 2022: 81 East Jerusalem Palestinians were stripped of their permanent residency status as part of Israel’s “quiet deportation” policy - the highest number of revocations since 2016
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

Revocation of permanent residency in 2022: 81 East Jerusalem Palestinians were stripped of their permanent residency status as part of Israel’s “quiet deportation” policy - the highest number of revocations since 2016

In January 2023, as it does every year, HaMoked submitted to the Ministry of Interior an application under the Freedom of Information Law for information on revocations of permanent residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians for the year 2022. The application was sent as part of HaMoked's ongoing advocacy against Israel's “quiet deportation” of East Jerusalem Palestinians, implemented since late 1995.

The Ministry of Interior response received on March 9, 2023, indicates that in the year 2022, Israel revoked the residency of 81 East Jerusalem Palestinians, including 42 women and one minor. Of the total, 63 people were outside of Israel/East Jerusalem on the date of the revocation. This is a significant rise compared to the previous year, in which 26 people were deprived of their status.

According to the Ministry of Interior's figures supplied over the years, between 1967 and 2022, Israel revoked the status of 14,808 Palestinians from East Jerusalem on the grounds that their status “expired of itself”.

The Ministry of Interior also stated that there was no change to its current policy of not revoking the status of Jerusalemites who “maintain a connection” to the city. As a result of previous policy changes following litigation by HaMoked and others, permanent residents who live in the Jerusalem “seam” neighborhoods or moved to live in other parts of the West Bank will not lose their status. Nor will those who live abroad – provided they visit Israel periodically.

Additionally, the Ministry of Interior disclosed that in 2022, 66 East Jerusalem Palestinians filed requests to have their residency status reinstated (one of which has already been approved). Over the course of the year, the Ministry approved 26 requests for status-reinstatement that had been submitted between 2015 to 2022.  The Ministry reported that it had rejected 4 requests for status reinstatement (submitted in 2019) “by reason of the Temporary Order”, i.e., The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order). This is the first time this law is cited as the basis for refusing to reinstate Jerusalem residency, and possibly indicates an undisclosed change of policy by the Ministry of Interior. * Therefore, on March 20, 2023, HaMoked sent the Ministry of Interior a letter stating categorically that any policy to refuse to restore residency on these grounds is wholly invalid and contradicts fundamental human rights principles as well as Israeli law “as it has developed in recent years in Supreme Court case law as well as in your procedures”, given that it leaves Jerusalemite Palestinians who moved to live elsewhere in the oPt “without a possibility to have their status restored and in great jeopardy of remaining stateless”.

HaMoked reiterates that the situation of East Jerusalem residents is unlike that of any other permanent resident, as the area in question was annexed by Israel and its inhabitants were compelled to become permanent residents of Israel. They are an indigenous population and their status must not be subject to expiration or to revocation (due to allegations of breach of allegiance or otherwise), and their expulsion from their homeland following a forced change in their status is entirely wrongful. The application of the discriminatory Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law as a basis to reject reinstatement of Jerusalem residency only compounds the injustice, and threatens to leave people stateless. The High Court of Justice has also recognized the unique status of East Jerusalem residents – for whom this piece of land is home. The law must recognize that the residency rights of East Jerusalem Palestinians cannot expire even following a lengthy stay abroad or the acquisition of status in another country, nor be revoked for any reason.

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