HaMokedl and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel requested to join proceedings in an appeal of a judgment given by the Administrative Court as amicus curiae. The appeal was filed in the matter of a resident of East Jerusalem whose permanent residency was revoked after he became a citizen of the USA, where he moved in order to study: The organizations request the Court to reexamine the laws pertaining to the civil status of East Jerusalem's residents.
The request concerns a call for reexamination of the laws pertaining to the civil status of East Jerusalem's residents and the Court's case law on the issue. These laws and the Interior Ministry's interpretation thereof originate in the judgment given in HCJ 282/88, 'Awad v. Prime Minister et al. (hereinafter the 'Awad case). In the 'Awad case, the Supreme Court ruled, inter alia, that despite the fact that the annexation of East Jerusalem to Israel turned its inhabitants to permanent residents of Israel, this status expires once its holder has settled abroad. This judgment was given two decades ago against the backdrop of the first intifada, regarding the Interior Minister's decision to deport Mubarak 'Awad, an East Jerusalem resident who had lived in the USA and acquired status therein and who was involved in political activism designed to end the Israeli occupation in the Territories.
The organizations claim that the 'Awad judgment must be reexamined against the backdrop of all the norms applicable to the residents of East Jerusalem – both under Israeli and international law. The judgment was based on the assumption that East Jerusalem's residents hold temporary residency visas given to them under the Entry into Israel Law. The organizations claim that even if this were indeed the case, a distinction must be made between immigrants who entered Israel of their own volition and acquired permanent residency visas at their request and people who acquired permanent residency visas by virtue of the annexation of their dwelling place to Israel as a result of military occupation.
The organizations clarify that the residents of East Jerusalem are not merely "residents of Israel" (as established by domestic Israeli law) but also "protected civilians" under international laws of occupation, and are entitled to continue to live in the occupied territory. Moreover, what is at issue is a principle of international human rights law that every person has a right to return to his homeland. All of the above highlight the unique status of East Jerusalem's residents, and it is, therefore, necessary to reexamine the judgment against the backdrop of all these norms. Even if this status does derive from the Entry into Israel Law, as ruled in the 'Awad case, it is unlike the status of any other resident, particularly that of immigrants who came to Israel willingly. In light of all this, the status of East Jerusalem's residents is a special status which cannot be revoked.
In the request, the organizations detail the harsh ramifications of the practice the Interior Ministry derived from the judgment in the 'Awad case. Beginning in the mid-1990's, Israel executed a policy, which came to be known as the "Quiet Deportation", and in the framework of which it revoked the status of many East Jerusalemites on the grounds that they had settled outside Israel. After a temporary break, the Interior Ministry renewed this policy in 2006 and revoked the status of 1,363 people.
The application of the 'Awad judgment exposed another aspect of the policy adopted by all Israeli governments – a policy whose main objective is to create a Jewish majority in Jerusalem and push the city's Palestinian residents out. For this purpose, the State of Israel has been implementing a policy designed to deny the civil rights of East Jerusalem's residents in various ways, including placing severe restrictions of family unification and child registration as well as deliberate discrimination in all matters relating to planning and building policy, land appropriation, investment in infrastructure and government and municipal services supplied to the residents of East Jerusalem.
To view the request to join as amicus curiae dated 20 November 2008 (in Hebrew)
To view the judgment given by the Administrative Court dated 11 February 2008 (in Hebrew)
To view HaMoked's and B'Tselem's reports – The Quiet Deportation, The Quiet Deportation Continues and Forbidden Families
To view the general petition filed by HaMoked following the Quiet Deportation policy