Challenging Cancellation of Residency Status of Palestinian Parliament Members from East Jerusalem.

HCJ 7803/06, Khalid Abu Arafeh, et al. v. Minister of Interior

Legal opinion filed in 5/07 jointly with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) to the Supreme Court as amicus curiae in the case of an appeal by four members of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) residing in East Jerusalem against the cancellation of their residency in Israel. The Interior Minster decided to cancel their status in 6/06 for “breach of trust” following their election on the list of Hamas in the 1/06 elections to the PLC. Adalah and ACRI argued that the Interior Minister’s decision gravely violates the parliamentarians’ rights, including their constitutional rights to dignity, personal liberty and property, and their and their families rights to family life. and presented arguments concerning the special complexity of the issue of the cancellation of the status of residents of East Jerusalem in general, which is occupied territory under international law, and of the East Jerusalem residents elected to the PLC in particular. The organizations stressed that Israel permitted them to vote and be elected in the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council and in the selection of the Chairman of the Palestinian National Authority: only after the petitioners were elected, and because the election results were not welcomed by the government of Israel, did it decide to cancel their residency status, thus severely violating their rights. Further, the cancellation of status due to “breach of trust” is an extreme, sweeping and draconian measure, to which there are less severe alternatives under the criminal law, and that the authority to take such a measure should lie only with the judiciary, which operates according to explicit primary legislation.

The legal opinion was submitted as part of case H.C. 7803/06, Khalid Abu Arafeh, et al. v. Minister of Interior (case pending).