Israel revokes Jerusalem residency of four Palestinians

Israel’s newly appointed interior minister Aryeh Deri has revoked the residency of four Palestinians from Jerusalem.

All four, three of them teenagers, are currently in prison awaiting trial. The revocation orders were delivered to their attorneys at HaMoked, an Israeli human rights organization that is representing them.

HaMoked plans to appeal to Israel’s high court.

By revoking the residencies, Deri was fulfilling what was initiated by former interior minister Silvan Shalom, who declared last October that “We must vomit the bloodthirsty murderers from among us.”

“These terrorists who blatantly violated their allegiance to the State of Israel by trying to murder innocent people are not worthy of living among us,” Shalom added.

Shalom made these declarations and initiated the revocations that Deri has now ordered even though the four have not been convicted of any crime.

In November, Shalom notified the young men that he was acting under Israel’s 1952 Law of Entry, which allows him to revoke the residency permit of individuals who “breach allegiance to the State of Israel.”

No authority

Under international law, Israel’s laws and rules are null and void in the occupied city.

Dalia Kerstein, the executive director of HaMoked, told The Electronic Intifada that the Israeli media was informed of Deri’s decision before the lawyers were.

Kerstein said that they are still studying the order, but will appeal.

“The interior minister does not have the authority to revoke Palestinians’ residencies,” Kerstein told The Electronic Intifada.

“Palestinians in East Jerusalem have nothing to do with being loyal to the State of Israel. The occupation forced them to have this status.”

After Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, and later annexed it in violation of international law, it declared that the city’s indigenous Palestinian population were now mere “permanent residents.”

This is a status that is also given to immigrants and requires holders to fulfill certain conditions to maintain.

By contrast, Jewish settlers Israel has transferred into occupied East Jerusalem in violation of international law have never been accused of disloyalty for acts of violence against Palestinians.

Jews, no matter where they move from, are automatically granted citizenship under Israel’s discriminatory laws.

Like punitive home demolitions, revocation of residency is a measure Israel, in effect, reserves strictly for non-Jews.


The three teenagers, aged 17 to 18, are accused of manslaughter after allegedly throwing stones at cars and, according to Israel, causing one driver to lose control and fatally crash into a pole last September.

The fourth person to have his residency revoked is 21-year-old Bilal Abu Ghanem. He is alleged to have boarded a bus in Jerusalem with Bahaa Alayan before attacking passengers and killing three people. Alayan was shot to death at the scene.

Israel has revoked the residencies of more than 14,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites over the decades for various pretexts never applied to Jewish residents of the city.

For example, Palestinians who live or study abroad can be accused of moving their “center of life” outside Jerusalem.

However, the interior ministry has not yet successfully revoked the residencies of Palestinians for breach of loyalty.

In 2006, Israel’s interior ministry made its first attempt to strip the residencies of Palestinians for “breach of loyalty,” when it moved to expel four Hamas legislators from Jerusalem. That order is still being appealed before the high court.

A new bill introduced by a member of Israel’s parliament would allow permanent residencies to be cancelled in cases of “disloyalty,” a term that is not defined.


Charlotte Silver

Charlotte Silver's picture

Charlotte Silver is an independent journalist and regular writer for The Electronic Intifada. She is based in Oakland, California and has reported from Palestine since 2010. Follow her on Twitter @CharESilver.