Center for the Defence of the Individual - HaMoked petitions the HCJ against Law to revoke status of East Jerusalem Palestinians for “breach of allegiance”: “This is an extreme, unconstitutional law… a stain on the law book of Israel”
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HaMoked petitions the HCJ against Law to revoke status of East Jerusalem Palestinians for “breach of allegiance”: “This is an extreme, unconstitutional law… a stain on the law book of Israel”

In March 2018, an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law (Section 11a) entered into effect, authorizing the Minister of Interior to revoke the permanent residency of East Jerusalem Palestinians and even expel them on the basis of “breach of allegiance” to the State of Israel. Until now, Israel has deported one Palestinian man from East Jerusalem pursuant to Section 11a, despite HaMoked’s intensive efforts to prevent his expulsion. In addition, Israel revoked the permanent residency of five other Jerusalemites pursuant to this law (thus according to Ministry of Interior data supplied to HaMoked), and gave them temporary residency status, as stipulated in this Law, which requires that a “license to reside in Israel” be given to a person who is left without permanent status elsewhere following the revocation. 

Back in September 2019, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on behalf of several Palestinians whose residency was thus revoked, and in this framework demanded the repeal of the Amendment. But ultimately HaMoked had to withdraw the 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 Court ruled on the matter in the framework of the Zayud appeal, filed by ACRI and Adalah. On July 21, 2022, the Supreme Court ruled in Zayud that revoking citizenship is constitutional provided that some kind of permanent status be given instead to a person stripped of their citizenship. Consequently, HaMoked wrote to the Minister of Interior, the Knesset and the Attorney General to demand once again the revocation of Section 11a of the Entry into Israel Law, but no response arrived. 

On February 27, 2023, HaMoked, via Atty. Adi Lustigman, petitioned the HCJ to demand the revocation of Section 11a of the Entry into Israel Law. HaMoked asserted that the Amendment was immoral, unconstitutional and blatantly contrary to basic principles enshrined in international law to which Israel was obligated, as well as to international humanitarian law. HaMoked argued that the Amendment fails to comply with the limitations clause set in the Israeli Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, given that it does not meet the tests of proportionality, does not match the values of the State of Israel and its purpose is improper. HaMoked added that the Amendment was invalid, among other things, because it is not intended to protect public security or public peace but to impose additional and exceptional punishment in the framework of status and immigration laws, alongside that proper avenue of imposing punishment, pursuant to Israeli penal law.

HaMoked argued that the Amendment disproportionately harms East Jerusalem Palestinians, who constitute an indigenous population and are “protected persons” under the laws of occupation which apply to East Jerusalem. The majority of this indigenous population have no other status elsewhere and they cannot be obliged to owe allegiance to the State of Israel. HaMoked expanded on this in light of the Zayud judgment: “since it was held in Zayud that the declarative purpose is the main purpose of the demand to be loyal to the state, it cannot be argued that it is a proper purpose in the context of the residents of East Jerusalem, who are not citizens”. East Jerusalem Palestinians did not move to Israel. Their native city was occupied and annexed. Yet, as the petition details, Israel intentionally refrained from granting citizenship, explicitly recognizing that this population owes no allegiance to the state. Thus, this population must be immune from deportation and their status must never be stripped.

HaMoked stressed that a person’s permanent status someplace in the world is a basic right on which depends the realization of an array of other basic rights, and the absence of which is an unacceptable situation which violates human dignity, the right to equality, the right to freedom of movement, the right to family life and so on. HaMoked added that “even if it is held that the violation of one of the rights in and of itself does not cross the threshold of unconstitutionality, the accumulation of the violations certainly brings us to this threshold”. HaMoked also noted that judicial scrutiny of this extreme Amendment was vital, more so in view of the fact that “the harm is caused to subjects who are unable to vote for the Knesset and have no representation…”.