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Jerusalem District Court: HaMoked appeals against revocation of residency on grounds of 'breach of loyalty' will be heard by the High Court of Justice due to the matter's importance

On May 28, 2018, HaMoked submitted two petitions to the Jerusalem District Court against the Minister of Interior's decision to revoke the status of two young residents of East Jerusalem, due to their involvement in acts of violence in 2015. The decision to revoke their status was made based on an amendment to the Entry into Israel Law 5712-1952 from March 2018, which grants the Minister of Interior the authority to revoke the permanent residency of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, on grounds of 'breach of loyalty' to the State of Israel.

In the petitions, HaMoked requested that the Court annul the Minister's decision regarding the two, as well as the amendment under which the decision was made. Regarding the individual cases, HaMoked claimed that the decision applied the law to the two young men ex post facto, because the amendment was passed two and a half years after the events for which the Minister decided to revoke their status. At the principled level, HaMoked claimed that the amendment is unconstitutional because it does not meet the threshold for violating rights set in the limitations clause in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. HaMoked further claimed that the amendment is contrary to international humanitarian law, which prohibits forcing a duty of allegiance onto protected persons living in occupied territories, and as such prohibits revocation of their permanent residency and deporting them from their homes on such grounds.

Following the Court's comments regarding one of the petitions – according to which it lacks the authority to discuss annulling a law – on June 17, 2018, HaMoked submitted a revised petition on behalf of one of the young men, and soon after submitted a new petition on behalf of the second. The revised petitions narrowed the scope of the requested remedies, demanding only cancellation of the Minister's decision regarding the two, and no longer addressing invalidation of the amendment to the law.

In a response from October 28, 2018, the Knesset demanded the petitions be deleted, claiming that even after their revision they still directly challenge the law, and as such the appropriate forum in which to discuss them is the High Court of Justice (HCJ). The Minister of Interior, in his response, also claimed that the petitions continue to directly challenge the law, and should therefore be rejected out of hand.

In a hearing held on November 5, 2018, HaMoked claimed that legal precedent indicates that a law can be challenged indirectly in a court other than the HCJ, so long as the petition relates to a decision applying to a concrete person. As such, HaMoked stressed that even if principled claims are made in the petitions, they are based on a decision applying to two particular petitioners, and the only remedy requested in them is cancellation of that decision.

At the hearing's conclusion, the Court decided to transfer the petitions – which address "a sensitive and important matter, and due to the indirect challenge" to the amendment – to be heard by the HCJ. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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