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Israeli human rights organizations to the Ministry of Interior: Legislation to revoke permanent residency due to breach of allegiance is unconstitutional and contrary to international law

On January 17, 2018, Israel's Knesset published a Memorandum of the Entry into Israel Law (Amendment No. …), 5778-2018, proposing to empower the Minister of Interior to revoke the status of permanent residents when the residency status has been obtained based on false information; when the person committed a felony; or due to “breach of allegiance to the State”. According to the Memorandum, if a person will be left without permanent status or citizenship or be unable to acquire them, the Minister must give him or her another type of residency visa.

The memorandum of law was formulated following the judgment of the High Court of Justice (HCJ) of September 13, 2017, issued on a petition against the revocation of the permanent residency status – on the grounds of breach of allegiance – of four East Jerusalem Palestinians elected to the Palestinian Parliament (HCJ 7803/06). The court ruled that under the Law in its current form the Minister of Interior was not authorized to revoke permanent residency due to breach of allegiance, but that cancelation of the Minister’s decision concerning the four should be postponed for six months to allow the Knesset to pass a suitable law sanctioning such revocations.

On February 7, 2018, HaMoked, Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel submitted their comments to the memorandum. In the document, the organizations detailed their position as to the proposed amendment to the law: First, this legislation would contradict international law relating to the status of East Jerusalem, as it does not distinguish between permanent residents of East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and other permanent residents. The organizations clarified that the status of East Jerusalem residents was unique given that they are residents of an occupied territory annexed by Israel contrary to international law, and also constitute an indigenous population. Therefore, the organizations said, clearly the residents of East Jerusalem had never been obliged to swear allegiance to the state, and could not be forced to do so, let alone be stripped of their permanent residency as a result. The organizations also held that this legislation is unconstitutional, violating Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, and would cause severe and disproportionate harm. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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