New Israeli law that lets interior minister revoke Palestinian residency in Jerusalem for 'breach of loyalty' is illegal

International humanitarian law forbids Israel from imposing obligation of loyalty upon Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem.


The Israeli parliament on Wednesday, 7 March 2018, approved a law that allows the Israeli interior minister to revoke the permanent residency status of any Palestinian he suspects of "breach of loyalty" to Israel.


The law, approved by the Knesset in a 48 to 18 vote with six abstentions, allows Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to revoke the Israeli identity card and permanent residency status of East Jerusalem Palestinians, leading to eviction from the city of their birth.


The new law was formulated following an Israeli Supreme Court decision of 13 September 2017 to accept a petition filed against the revocation of Israeli residency permits of four Palestinian parliamentarians from East Jerusalem. The court ruled then that there was no law that granted the interior ministry authority to revoke residency status for "breach of loyalty."


Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) submitted an amicus curiae legal opinion in this case.


However, the Supreme Court's decision allowed the interior minister's revocation of the four parliamentarians' residency to remain valid for six months despite its illegality, upon which time their residency status would be renewed. However, during this six-month period, the Knesset was allowed to change the law – within constitutional constraints – to permit the revocation of residency for "breach of loyalty."


HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, Adalah, and ACRI issued a joint statement in response to the Knesset's Wednesday approval of the new law:


"This law is unconstitutional and is intended to result in the illegal expulsion of Palestinians from Jerusalem, the city of their birth. Even though the revocation of residency entails a severe violation of basic rights – including the right to family, the right to free movement, and the right to freedom of employment – members of the Knesset nevertheless chose to grant the interior minister the authority to do as he wishes. East Jerusalem is occupied territory, and its Palestinian residents are a protected population under international humanitarian law. It is therefore forbidden to impose upon them an obligation of loyalty to Israel, let alone revoke their permanent residency status for "breach of loyalty," essentially resulting in their expulsion from the city.


CLICK HERE for an English translation of the law from HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual