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HaMoked petitions the HCJ to repeal the law that allows the Minister of Interior to revoke permanent residency status for “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel” and to cancel its implementation regarding two East Jerusalem men

On September 15, 2019, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to demand the repeal of the March 2018 amendment to the Entry into Israel Law, which authorizes the Minister of Interior to revoke permanent residency status for “breach of allegiance to the State of Israel”, as well as the Minister’s decisions of August 2019, to apply this law and revoke the permanent residency of two men from East Jerusalem.

The two petitions were filed after the Minister of Interior rejected HaMoked’s written arguments against the intention to revoke the status of the two men, each of whom is serving a life sentence for involvement in the planning and implementation of a fatal attack against Israelis, one in Haifa in 2003, and the other in Jerusalem in 2011. These petitions join two previous petitions filed by HaMoked which are still pending in the HCJ, concerning the revocation of the permanent residency status of two other young men from East Jerusalem following their participation in attacks against Israelis.

HaMoked now reiterated in its petitions to the HCJ that the Amendment, expressly crafted to impose sanctions on the population of East Jerusalem, is immoral and contrary to international humanitarian law, which prohibits imposing a duty of allegiance on protected persons living in occupied territories. HaMoked argued further that this was an unconstitutional law that failed to comply with the limitations clause set in the Israeli Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, given that it did not match the values of the state and had no legitimate purpose.

Regarding the decision to apply the Amendment in these two specific cases, HaMoked argued, among other things, that this is an illegitimate decision which applies legislation retroactively; the Amendment was enacted years after the events cited as the reason for the revocation of the two men’s residency. HaMoked further argued that the Law was excessively and disproportionately harmful, given that the men were serving prison sentences imposed on them according to criminal law and there was no call to impose on them yet another punishment in the framework of an administrative proceeding. HaMoked elaborated on its argument that the decision was substantively invalid, unreasonable and fundamentally tainted by alien considerations, this given the Minister’s conduct in the matter – including swift and even advance publication in social media and in the press about steps taken in these cases. This conduct, HaMoked asserted, clearly suggested that the reason behind the move was not any “breach of allegiance” but an attempt at appeasing certain publics, and especially the victims’ families. HaMoked clarified that victims of crime have legal standing in the criminal process, but not in an administrative proceeding; in the latter, taking their position into account clearly constitutes an alien consideration. HaMoked also argued that the Minister’s conduct on the procedural level was fundamentally flawed, including the fact that were it not for HaMoked’s demand in the framework of its written arguments, the petitioners would not have been given the opportunity to plead their case in an oral hearing.

HaMoked clarified that the two Jerusalemites have no other status anywhere in the world. Furthermore, they hold Israeli permanent residency status by virtue of their belonging to the indigenous population of East Jerusalem. Israel gave this status to East Jerusalemites following the annexation, knowing these were enemy subjects, and therefore allegiance to the state was not required. HaMoked concluded by stating that the Minister of Interior is obligated by law to give the petitioners temporary status to replace the permanent status they were stripped of, because a person may not be left stateless. Temporary status holders are entitled to the same social security benefits and other rights, including freedom of movement, as permanent residents. This fact alone is a clear indication that the revocations serve no real purpose. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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