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HaMoked to the Court for Administrative Affairs: contrary to the procedures and the Supreme Court’s case law, the Ministry of Interior revokes the Israeli status of East Jerusalem minors whose parents relocated abroad

For years, HaMoked has been fighting against the Ministry of Interior’s policy aimed at driving East Jerusalem Palestinians out of the city, implemented, among other things, through the quiet deportation, i.e., the revocation of their Israeli status. Since 2016, HaMoked has been working to end the Ministry of Interior’s explicit and unacceptable practice of revoking even the status of East Jerusalem minors who relocated with their parents abroad – usually automatically upon the revocation of their parents’ status. According to official data given in response to HaMoked’s annual freedom-of-information applications on this matter, in the years 2011-2019, the Ministry of Interior revoked the Israeli status of 105 such minors – in blatant violation of their basic rights and contrary to the principle of the child’s best interest.

Such revocations clearly conflict with the ministry’s own procedures, which were endorsed by the Supreme Court in AAA 9807/09, and whereby, as a rule, the status of minors who have left the country with their parents or received foreign status, should not to be revoked while they are still minors. The Ministry of Interior may decide their status “expired” of itself only after they reach the age of majority . The rationale underlying this procedure is that so long as a resident is still a minor, they have no control over their fate, and the issue of their status should not be decided for them by its revocation.

Despite HaMoked’s letters over the years and its appeal to the Appeals Tribunal – deleted on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction – the Ministry of Interior clings to its position that it may revoke minors’ status, and reinstate it if they file such a request during their first seven years of adulthood.

Therefore, on November 23, 2020, HaMoked petitioned the Jerusalem Court for Administrative Affairs to demand the Ministry of Interior desist from revoking permanent residency status of East Jerusalem minors following their parents’ relocation abroad. HaMoked began by clarifying that according to the judgment of the High Court of Justice in HCJ 7501/17, in the absence of an individual petitioner, a public petitioner may petition against procedures and their implementation and that the jurisdiction to hear the case lies with the Court for Administrative Affairs. As to the issue itself, HaMoked argued, among other things, that this was a breach of the Sharansky affidavit, given in March 2000 in the framework of HCJ 2227/98, and constituting an inherent part of the Ministry of Interior’s explicit policy, which establishes that “Concerning persons who were minors at the time their parents transferred their center of life outside Israel, in general, the question of their residency will be examined from the day of their majority, and in this matter, the period which preceded the day of their majority will not be taken into account”. HaMoked also asserted that revoking the status of minors threatens their status in their homeland and the basic rights to which they are entitled. Thus, for instance, HaMoked stated that whereas a juvenile offender who is a permanent resident has nothing to fear regarding his fate in his homeland, in the case of a juvenile offender who has to request reinstatement of his status, the matter is subject to the Ministry’s discretion.

HaMoked reiterates that special care is required in cases of such minors, given that they belong to the indigenous population of East Jerusalem, whose status is unique.

* On April 25, 2021, HaMoked had to delete its petition due to the absence of an individual petitioner. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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