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Ministry of Interior data: 18 East Jerusalem Palestinians were stripped of their permanent residency status in 2020 as part of Israel’s “quiet deportation” policy; 10 of them women

In early January 2021, as in every year, HaMoked submitted to the Ministry of Interior an application under the Freedom of Information Law for information on revocations of permanent residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians for the year 2020. The application was sent as part of HaMoked's ongoing campaign to stop Israel's “quiet deportation” of East Jerusalem Palestinians, implemented since late 1995.

The Ministry of Interior response of March 7, 2021, indicates that in the year 2020, Israel revoked the residency of 18 East Jerusalem Palestinians, including 10 women and no minors. All of the 18 people were outside of Israel on the date of the revocation. This is a clear decrease compared to the previous year, in which 40 people were deprived of their status.

According to the Ministry of Interior's figures supplied over the years, between 1967 and 2020, Israel revoked the status of 14,701 Palestinians from East Jerusalem on the grounds that their status “expired of itself”.

The Ministry of Interior also stated that there were no changes in its policy of not revoking the status of Jerusalemites who “maintain a connection” to the city. Permanent residents who live in the Jerusalem “seam” neighborhoods or moved to live in other parts of the West Bank will not lose their status. Nor will those who live abroad – provided they visit Israel periodically.

Additionally, the Ministry of Interior disclosed that in 2020, 47 East Jerusalem Palestinians filed requests to have their residency status reinstated (none of which has yet been approved). The Ministry approved 41 requests for status-reinstatement that had been submitted between 2008-2019 (22 in 2015 and 10 in 2016); 4 requests were refused (2 for “center-of-life” claims and 2 for “neglect [of the request]”.

HaMoked reiterates that the situation of East Jerusalem residents is unlike that of any other permanent resident, as the area in question was annexed by Israel and its inhabitants were compelled to become permanent residents of Israel. They are an indigenous population and their status cannot be subject to expiration or to revocation (due to allegations of breach of allegiance or otherwise). The High Court of Justice has also recognized the unique status of East Jerusalem residents – for whom this piece of land is home. The law must recognize that the residency rights of East Jerusalem Palestinians cannot expire even following a lengthy stay abroad or the acquisition of status in another country, nor be revoked for whatever reason. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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