Security Prisoner
Security Detainee
Administrative Detainee

In response to HaMoked's petition under the Freedom of Information Act, the Interior Ministry provided data regarding the scope of residency revocation in East Jerusalem: Between 2005 and 2007, 1,869 permanent residents of Jerusalem were revoked of their residency, including 91 minors

During the second half of the 1990's, many residents of East Jerusalem, who sought to obtain various Interior Ministry services, discovered that their status had been revoked and that they were no longer considered residents.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 challenged this policy in a petition filed on behalf of residents of East Jerusalem who had been harmed by it, in 1998. As part of the State's response, then Interior Minister, Natan Sharansky, submitted an affidavit to the HCJ which mitigated, 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 According to the affidavit, residents whose status had been revoked could regain it if they met certain criteria.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 not to revoke the status of those who maintained proper affinity to Jerusalem. Despite this, the revocation policy did not cease. As detailed below, it only intensified, particularly during 2006.

In June 2008 HaMoked submitted a petition under the Freedom of Information Act, in order to receive data regarding the scope of residency revocation in East Jerusalem between 2005 and 2007. The petition was submitted since the Interior Ministry ignored HaMoked's request for this information, submitted as early as February of that year. HaMoked requested to receive information, inter alia, on the number of East Jerusalem residents whose residency was revoked in these years; the reasons for the revocation; how the Interior Ministry received information regarding a person's naturalization in a foreign country;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.

Following submission of the petition, the Interior Ministry agreed to answer some of the questions HaMoked had raised: It emerged that the revocation policy was expanded during 2006 – in 2005, 220 permanent residents of East Jerusalem were revoked of their residency; in 2006, 1,360 residencies were revoked; and in 2007, 289 East Jerusalemites lost their residency. The number of revocations in 2006 is unprecedented. By comparison, in 1997, when implementation of the "quiet deportation" policy was at its harshest, "only" 1,067 residencies were revoked.

The Interior Ministry explained that it receives information about the acquisition of foreign status or citizenship from Israeli diplomatic missions abroad – when they contact the Ministry to request information about a resident. The Ministry also provided data regarding individuals who had acquired status abroad or in the Occupied Territories, and as a result, their status in Israel was revoked – "Of 220 expiration updated in the year 2005 for residents of East Jerusalem, 169 expirations were updated for residents who were abroad…20 expirations were updated due to immigration to the Area"; "Of 1,360 expirations updated in the year 2006 for residents of East Jerusalem, 1,081 expirations were updated for residents who were abroad. 49 expirations were updated due to immigration to the Area"; "Of 289 expirations updated in the year 2007 for residents of East Jerusalem, 217 expirations were updated for residents who were abroad. 40 expirations were updated due to immigration to the Area."

The petition under the Freedom of Information Act is still pending.

This year, HaMoked submitted five petitions to the Court of Administrative Affairs against Interior Ministry decisions to revoke East Jerusalemites’ residencies, and also requested to join proceedings conducted at the Supreme Court in this matter as amicus curiae. HaMoked claims that the policy of revocation must be reexamined, while taking into consideration all the norms pertaining to East Jerusalem – both in terms of Israeli law and international law. HaMoked argues, inter alia, that as far as the legal tests for the expiration 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. Thus far, residency status was reinstated in three cases, though the Court did not address the issue of principle. The fifth petition on the issue is still pending.

To view the Interior Ministry's response to the request for information dated 19 February 2009

To view HaMoked's request for additional information dated 13 November 2008

To view the request to join as amicus curiae dated 20 November 2008 (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

red-id | רד אינטראקטיב