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29.6.2015

HaMoked and ACRI request to join proceedings as amicus curiae in a case concerning the revocation of status of an East Jerusalem resident: the stipulations on the unique status of the East Jerusalem residents must be reexamined

In 1988, the Supreme Court ruled, in the 'Awad judgment, that although Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem turned the city’s residents to permanent Israeli residents, their status could be revoked following transference of center-of-life outside of Israel.

In time, the Ministry of Interior turned this judgment into a useful rule for altering the reality of life in Jerusalem. The sanction for leaving the city for a limited period of time or for acquiring foreign status, effectively means losing one's home and the possibility of returning to one's native land. This policy fits into the overall policy of deliberate discrimination and maltreatment of East Jerusalem residents, aimed at pushing them out of the city in order to achieve a Jewish majority in the city.

On June 25, 2015, HaMoked and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) requested to join as amicus curiae the appeal proceedings over a judgment issued by the Court for Administrative Affairs. The appeal concerned the case of an East Jerusalem resident whose permanent status in Israel had been revoked because he had lived for a long period in the United States and acquired American citizenship.

The organizations claim that the ‘Awad judgment must be reexamined in the context of all legal norms applying to East Jerusalem – according to both Israeli law and international law. The judgment’s standpoint was that under Israeli law, the status of the East Jerusalem residents was given to them pursuant to the Entry into Israel Law, although it was Israel that had entered East Jerusalem, and not the other way around. Therefore, the organizations maintain, a distinction must be made between immigrants who entered Israel voluntarily and acquired Israeli status upon their request and East Jerusalem Palestinians who received Israeli status consequent to the Israeli annexation of their domicile following military occupation.

The organizations clarify that the residents of East Jerusalem are not just “Israeli residents” (according to Israeli domestic law) but also “protected persons” under the international laws of occupation, and as such, are entitled to continue living in the occupied territory. Moreover, one of the norms of international human rights law is that every person is entitled to return to his/her country.

Given all of the above, it should be determined that the status of East Jerusalem residents is unique, and cannot be revoked following extended stay abroad or the acquisition of status elsewhere; and that their right to return to their homeland is theirs in perpetuity. Thus in general and thus in the appellant’s case.
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