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HaMoked in a petition to the Jerusalem District Court: the amendment enabling revocation of permanent residency for 'breach of loyalty' is illegal, and its retrospective application is invalid

On March 7, 2018, the Knesset passed an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law 5712-1952, granting the Minister of Interior authority to revoke the permanent residency of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem – and have them expelled from their city of birth – for 'breach of loyalty' to the state of Israel. The law was drafted following a High Court of Justice ruling (HCJ 7803/06) that there was no authority to revoke the status of residents of Jerusalem serving in the Palestinian parliament on grounds of breach of loyalty, and allowing the state to pass legislation granting such authority.

Following the amendment to the law, on March 18, 2018 the Minister of Interior announced his intention to revoke the status of four residents of East Jerusalem for breaches of loyalty, due to their involvement in attacks in late 2015. HaMoked submitted written arguments against this intention, but on April 29, 2018, the Minister decided to revoke the status of two of the four. The first, a young man from the Zur Baher neighborhood, was involved in a stone throwing attack in Jerusalem that resulted in the death of an Israeli civilian. The second, a young man from the Jabal Mukabber neighborhood, committed an attack on a bus in the Armon HaNatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem, in which three Israeli civilians were killed and others were injured.

On May 28, 2018, HaMoked petitioned the Jerusalem District Court against the amendment to the Entry into Israel Law, and against the decision to revoke the status of the two. HaMoked argued that the amendment is unconstitutional because it does not meet the threshold for violating rights set in the limitations clause in Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. It was further claimed that the amendment enables disproportionate and clear harm to many basic rights, without any proof that status revocation contributes to preventing future crimes. HaMoked further emphasized that the law runs contrary to international humanitarian law (IHL), because it enables the revocation of status of the indigenous residents of East Jerusalem – protected persons residing in occupied territory, who were forced to become permanent residents of Israel with the annexation of East Jerusalem. According to IHL, protected persons cannot be coerced into declaring loyalty to the occupying power. Finally, HaMoked noted that the amendment does not define clear criteria and limitations for status revocations on grounds of breach of loyalty, thus enabling arbitrary use of the authority, in many circumstances and for a variety of motives.

On the individual level, HaMoked argued that in the present case, the decision to revoke the status of the two was invalid because it retroactively applied legislation to the appellants, in clear contravention of precedent and the principle of fair government. The amendment was passed two and a half years after the events for which the Minister of Interior decided to revoke the appellants' status, and its retroactive application is unconstitutional. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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