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HaMoked in a petition to the Jerusalem Administrative Affairs Court under the Freedom of Information Act, for information on the scope of residency revocation in East Jerusalem during 2006 and 2007: HaMoked also filed a petition on behalf of a resident of East Jerusalem who is married to a resident of the Gaza Strip and whose residency has recently been revoked. The revocation came after many years during which the Petitioner split her life between her husband's home in the Gaza Strip and her family's home in Jerusalem

On 12 June 2008, HaMoked petitioned the Administrative Court under the Freedom of Information Act in a bid to receive information on the scope of residency revocation in the case of East Jerusalem residents during 2006 and 2007. In the petition, HaMoked requests to receive information, inter alia, on the number of East Jerusalem residents whose residency was revoked in these years; the reasons for the revocation; how the Interior Ministry received information regarding a person's naturalization in a foreign country; whether the Ministry notified persons whose residency "expired"; and whether such persons were given the opportunity to appeal.

During the second half of the 1990's, many residents of East Jerusalem, who sought to obtain the Interior Ministry's services on various issues, discovered that their permanent status had been revoked and that they were no longer residents. The residency revocation policy which was known as the "quiet deportation" was applied against anyone whom the Ministry considered as having left Israel and living outside it, even if he or she were living in Jerusalem at the time. The West Bank and Gaza Strip were considered "abroad" for this purpose. Residents were not normally notified that their residency had "expired" and discovered it after the fact. HaMoked attacked this policy in a petition filed on behalf of East Jerusalem residents who had been harmed by it, in 1998. As part of the State's response to the petition, then Interior Minister, Natan Sharansky, submitted an affidavit to the HCJ which corrected, to a degree, the injustice caused to victims of the quiet deportation. According to the affidavit, residents whose status had been revoked could regain it if they met certain criteria. Additionally, the Interior Ministry undertook to not revoke the status of those who maintained proper affinity to Jerusalem.

According to data published by the Ministry of the Interior, the number of residency revocations increased in 2006. Among the victims of this increase was a resident of Jerusalem who married a resident of the Gaza Strip in 1990 and has since split her life between her husband's home in Gaza and her family's home in Jerusalem. HaMoked filed a petition on her behalf on 15 June 2008.

Until 1994, no limitations were placed on the entry of residents and citizens of Israel to the Gaza Strip, and the Petitioner had no difficulty remaining either in the Gaza Strip or Jerusalem. The Petitioner entered Jerusalem several times a year and remained with her family in the city for a number of weeks at a time. After 1994, the Petitioner was required to obtain permits in order to enter and remain in the Gaza Strip. Such permits are issued under the "divided families" procedure, whereby Israelis who have spouses in the Gaza Strip receive permits to remain in the Gaza Strip for several months. The permits may be extended at the District Coordination Office (DCO) at Erez. Over the years, the Petitioner followed this procedure, returned to Jerusalem often and maintained close affinity to her home in the city, never imagining that her status would one day be revoked. In February 2007, the Petitioner discovered that her status as a resident of Israel had been revoked. Nevertheless, she continued to receive permits to enter the Gaza Strip, and therefore thought that the State would continue to allow her to exit and enter Israel as in the past. Only when she arrived at the Erez checkpoint in July 2007 to extend her permit, was she told that the permit could not be extended as her status had been revoked and she ceased to be a resident of Israel.

The Ministry of the Interior, as expected, refused to disclose the reasons for the decision to revoke the Petitioner's residency. Yet, being thoroughly familiar with the Ministry's policy, HaMoked argues that the reason for the revocation is the Petitioner's stay in the Gaza Strip over the past several years. The Petitioner makes no claim that she did not live with her spouse in the Gaza Strip since her marriage, but claims that this did not constitute an indication of a wish, on her part, to sever her ties with her family and her city – Jerusalem.

HaMoked argues that the provisions of the "Sharansky Affidavit" apply to the Petitioner since she maintained her affinity to Israel over the years. The Ministry of the Interior should have, therefore, refrained from revoking her residency. Additionally, the provisions of the "divided families" procedure include no indication of the possibility that those meeting its requirements face the danger of residency revocation.

HaMoked also argues that the revocation of the Petitioner's status is unlawful from a wider perspective. This argument is based on a necessary review of the laws governing the civil status of East Jerusalem's residents, the Interior Ministry's interpretation of these laws and the Court's rulings. In its judgment in HCJ 282/88, 'Awad v. The Prime Minister et al, the Supreme Court ruled, inter alia, that even though East Jerusalemites became permanent residents as a result of the annexation of East Jerusalem to Israel, their residency may expire if they leave Israel and effectively live outside it. The judgment was given against the background of the first intifada, in the matter of the Interior Minister's decision to deport a resident of East Jerusalem who was living in the United States, had naturalized there and was conducting political activity to end the Israeli occupation of the Territories.

HaMoked argues that the judgment must now be reviewed while taking into consideration all the norms pertaining to East Jerusalem – both in terms of Israeli law and international law. The judgment's point of departure was that, under Israeli law, East Jerusalem's residents hold permanent residency permits which were issued to them under the Law of Entry into Israel. HaMoked argues, on the other hand, that as far as the legal tests for the expiry of residency, a distinction must be made between immigrants who enter Israel of their free will and obtain permanent residency permits as per their requests and persons who obtained permanent residency permits by force of their place of residency being annexed to Israel as a result of military occupation. HaMoked argues that residents of East Jerusalem hold a special status which, by nature, includes a condition whereby the permits do not expire. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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