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24.5.2018

A precedential judgment by the Appeals Tribunal invalidates a decision by the Ministry of Interior to deport from Jerusalem a mother for her son's actions

For Immediate Release

Israeli Appeals Tribunal strikes down a new form of collective punishment

In a precedential judgment on HaMoked's case, Tribunal invalidates and overturns a decision by the Ministry of Interior to deport a woman from Jerusalem due to her son's actions


In a precedential judgment, the Appeals Tribunal invalidated and overturned the Ministry of Interior's decision to deport from Jerusalem the mother of a teenager who was accused of stabbing a Border Police officer in 2015. During the event, the officer sustained light injuries and the teenager was killed by security forces.

The Court ruled that the decision to cease the family unification process of the mother, who is originally from the West Bank and has been living in Jerusalem since 1996, is illegal in every possible way; the Ministry of Interior, the Court ruled, has no authority to decide to deport people living lawfully in East Jerusalem simply to punish them for someone else's actions, even if those actions were committed by family members, so long as there is no concrete information that indicates the person herself is dangerous. Such deportation, according to the Court, constitutes wrongful collective punishment.

The Court also ruled that the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (referred to as "the Temporary Order") does not permit the Ministry of Interior to deport someone from her home of twenty years simply in an effort to "discourage" or "punish" others, and that "parental responsibility" cannot be the reason for cessation of a family unification process: "…the Temporary Order does not empower the Minister of Interior to revoke status granted to a resident of the area in order to realize an objective that is basically general deterrence…".

Israel utilizes a variety of methods of collective punishment of families of Palestinians who have committed acts of violence. The most blatant example is punitive home demolitions. Jerusalemites are vulnerable to additional measures, including the revocation of their social rights or of residency status granted as part of family unification processes.

"A basic principle of any modern legal system is that every person is responsible for his or her own actions and cannot be punished for acts committed by their relatives," says Adv. Benjamin Agsteribbe of HaMoked, who represented the family. "In this case, the Ministry of Interior attempted to revoke the status of a woman solely for her son's actions. The Court has clearly stated that this constitutes wrongful collective punishment."

Adv. Agsteribbe added: "the judgment contains important statements regarding freedom of conscience; according to the Court, it does not matter what the mother thought or said about the stabbing her son committed, or what her opinions are on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – issues which formed the basis of the Ministry of Interior's decision. What matters is whether the Ministry of Interior has any indications that there are risks arising from the mother's continued residency in Jerusalem. If there are no such signs, there is no reason to cease her process and revoke the permit which enables her to live in the city".

The Court instructed the Ministry of Interior to reinstate the mother's permit within 45 days, and to pay 7,000 shekels in trial costs to the appellants.

For details: Adv. Daniel Shenhar, Director of the Legal Department – 02-5455017; 052-3778327; d.shenhar@hamoked.org.il
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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