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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/11/11

East Jerusalem Palestinians: Lawlessly Revoking Their Status

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They differentiate them from immigrants who acquired residency through marriage to an Israeli citizen who would still have to keep proving their "center-of-life" status in the city.

Current law lets Israel's Interior Ministry revoke residency status (and issued permits proving it) for natives or immigrants who lived outside the country for seven or more years, or who acquired citizenship or permanent residency abroad. 

Moreover, authorities regularly revoke residency permits without notice or hearings, those affected denied their right to challenge what's already happened. As a result, they learn after the fact that they're barred from their homeland.

Most East Jerusalem Palestinians are permanent residents. Thus, revoking their status arbitrarily infringes on the rights of many thousands who wish to study, work or live abroad for any purpose. In recent years, revocations rose sharply under an undeclared ethnic cleansing policy to Judaize all Jerusalem by removing its Arab presence.

Thousands are now affected annually. In fact, almost 50% of all post-1967 revocations occurred from 2006 - 2008.

Petitioning Israel's High Court of Justice for Redress

On April 7, HaMoked and ACRI petitioned Israel's High Court on behalf of Mahmoud Qarae'en, a 26-year old East Jerusalem Silwan resident and ACRI field researcher for its Human Rights in East Jerusalem project. He told the Electronic Intifada publication:

"People feel that they are under siege. I cannot do anything to risk the possibility of not coming back (home). We should be treated as (Jerusalem's) indigenous people....We are not guests. We are from here and we should be able to leave and come back (freely) if we choose."

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