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Bureaucratic harassment of an East Jerusalem youth: HaMoked petitions the court against the Ministry of Interior’s withholding identity card from 16-year-old son of an assailant

On July 21, 2019, HaMoked petitioned the Jerusalem Court for Administrative Affairs against the Ministry of Interior’s inexplicable and illegal failure to issue an identity card to a permanent resident Palestinian minor from East Jerusalem. Since October 2016, when the boy turned 16 – the compulsory threshold age for carrying an identity card – the boy and his mother have been repeatedly applying to the Ministry of Interior to issue an identity card to the boy, but without success. The Ministry remained unyielding despite HaMoked’s persistent communications on their behalf and the fact that abundant proof has been provided to the Ministry as to the family’s center of life being in Jerusalem.

In the petition, HaMoked asserted that the Ministry of Interior’s protracted avoidance from issuing an identity card – a document which must be provided without delay – illegally infringes on the basic rights of the boy, who belongs to an indigenous population of the city, living under tight control of the security forces. HaMoked also raised the concern that extraneous considerations of vengeance are behind the Ministry of Interior’s conduct, given that the boy’s father, who was also a permanent resident of the city, shot and killed two people and wounded several others in Jerusalem in 2016, and was himself shot dead by the security forces during the incident. If this concern is true, then the Ministry of Interior’s conduct “is contrary to one of the most basic principles of justice – the prohibition on punishing one person for the acts of another”. In this context it important to note that in 2016 the family’s home was demolished by the military as collective punishment for the father’s deed.

HaMoked stressed that by leaving the boy without an identity card, the Ministry of Interior turns him into a lawbreaker, through no fault of his own. As a result, whenever the boy steps out of his home, he is in constant dread lest he be detained by the security forces and required to present identity card. Consequently, in addition to violating the express legal requirement to issue an identity card, the Ministry of Interior also severely infringes the boys’ freedom of movement as a well as his human dignity and personal autonomy.

If in fact vengeance in the motivation in this case, this would not be the first instance where HaMoked’s assistance is required in circumstances where the Ministry of Interior seeks to harm the innocent due to their family tie to assailants. Thus, for example, in early 2019, the Ministry of Interior was forced to abandon its plan to deport a woman whose son was suspected of committing an attack against Israelis. In another case, following HaMoked’s intervention, in late 2018, the Ministry of Interior had to withdraw its intention to revoke the status of two East Jerusalem minors. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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