Israel deports Palestinians from Jerusalem for not showing ‘loyalty’

Kuttab, Al Monitor, May 3, 2018

A recent
amendment to the Israeli “border and entry law,” which permits the
deportation of anyone not showing “loyalty” to the State of Israel, has
allowed for the permanent deportation of four public figures from Jerusalem.
LONGARI/AFP/Getty Images. A Palestinian vendor pushes his bagel cart past the
International Red Cross offices, where Hamas legislators Ahmad Atoun (R),
Mohammad Totah (2R) and Khaled Abu Arafa (2L) sit under a banner reading
“We will stay here forever,” East Jerusalem, Dec. 9, 2010.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri ordered April 29 the permanent
of four Palestinian public figures from Jerusalem. The
decision culminates a 12-year legal and political Israeli battle against three
members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) and a former minister in
the Palestinian government.

Atoun, Mohammad Abu Teir and Mohammad Totah from Jerusalem were elected in the
2006 Palestinian parliamentary
. By signing and sponsoring the Oslo Accord,
Israel and the United States had tacitly approved the convening of the elections
and the participation of Jerusalem residents, both as candidates and as voters.
The three were on the Change and Reform list that was supported by the Islamic
movement Hamas, which won the majority of the seats. Ismail Haniyeh, the head
of the list, was asked to set up a government, and he appointed a fourth
Jerusalemite, Khaled Abu Arafa, as minister of Jerusalem affairs. Abu Arafa is
the fourth person whose permanent residency status has been revoked.
reacted angrily and arrested and harassed the four men for years. In June 2006,
Israel deported them from Jerusalem on charges of not showing
to the State of Israel. Over the last 12 years, they have
been fighting their deportation in the Israeli courts. On Sept. 13, 2017,
the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the deportation order was not legal
but gave the Israeli government six months to respond. However, on March 7, the
Israeli Knesset amended the “border and
entry law
” by adding a clause allowing for the deportation of
anyone who doesn’t show “loyalty” to the State of Israel.
The order to deport the four comes based on that amended law.
Abu Arafa
told Al-Monitor that he and his colleagues are conferring with lawyers to
decide on the next moves. “We have few options left, but we are considering
them all, including going back to the Israeli Supreme Court,” he said.
Qawasmi, the lawyer for the deported Jerusalemites, vowed in press
to challenge the legality of the deportation, arguing
that it attempts to punish the Palestinians for something they did long before
the law was passed.
Abu Arafa
noted that their lawyer is considering challenging the case before the very
same Israeli Supreme Court that had objected their deportation six months
earlier. “For the first time in the history of Israel a court case takes 11
years and forces the government to pass a ‘citizenship law’ within six
months of its ruling,” Abu Arafa said, quoting his lawyer.
to the Knesset’s official website, reported Middle East
 March 7, “Israeli MKs [Knesset members] proposed the law
after the Supreme Court in September overturned the ministry’s decision to
revoke the permanent residence permits of four Jerusalemite Palestinians
— three elected parliamentarians from Hamas, and a former minister.”
member Dov Boris Khenin of the Joint List criticized
the law
. He was quoted March 7 as saying, “This is bad and
dangerous legislation … Israel’s decision to annex East Jerusalem
contradicts international law. The residents of East Jerusalem live there not
because they chose to be Israelis but because it is their home.” Khenin added
that the law seeks to impose an allegiance obligation on people with no loyalty
to Israel.
The law
does not elaborate on what a “breach of allegiance” might entail.
On Sept.
13, 2017, the Supreme Court ruled
that Israel may not revoke the residency of East Jerusalem Palestinians in
violation of the rule of law on the vague assertion of “breach of loyalty.”
rights organizations that had initiated the case — Adalah and
the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) — said in a joint statement Sept. 13,
“It is unfortunate that this ruling was made only after more than a decade,
during which time the petitioners’ rights were brutally violated.”
news agency WAFA said Adalah and ACRI asserted in their statement that
“Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem never entered
and acquired the status of immigrants. Therefore, their
residency status was never made conditional to any terms, and there is no
justification for its cancellation.”
addition to the four Palestinian public figures from Jerusalem, Israel is
reportedly considering the deportation of 12 other Jerusalem residents and
revoking their permanent
residency rights
in Jerusalem because of their solidarity and public
support of Hamas.
to the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, 14,000
Palestinians from Jerusalem have had their residencies revoked by the State of
Israel using various administrative decisions.
In June
1967, Israel occupied Jerusalem and other parts of Palestinian and Arab areas.
The laws regulating occupied areas — namely the Fourth Geneva Convention
forbid an occupying power from transferring populations under its control or
seeking that they express loyalty to the occupying power.
More than
a decade of court hearings and a draconian law later, Israel is trying to
declare that anyone in Jerusalem under its control is obliged to show “loyalty”
to it, or risk deportation.
Israelis have been trying for years to change the demographic status of
, the latest move can’t be separated from the green light
given to Israel by Washington following the decision by US President Donald
Trump to recognize occupied Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.