15 June 2010
Motion for Injunction filed to Israeli Supreme Court to Stop Imminent Deportation Process of Palestinian Legislative Council Members from Jerusalem
Attorney Hassan Jabareen, the General Director of Adalah: “If the Supreme Court upholds the Interior Minister's decision, it will be dangerous for all Palestinians in Jerusalem since Israel can easily revoke their residency based on their legitimate political affiliations or activities. International law prohibits the occupying power from demanding loyalty from the occupied people.”
(Haifa, Israel) Today, 15 June 2010, three Palestinian parliamentarians from the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) – Mr. Muhammad Abu-Teir, Mr. Ahmad Attoun and Mr. Muhammad Totah – as well as the former Palestinian Minister for Jerusalem Affairs, Mr. Khaled Abu Arafeh, all elected on the Change and Reform political party list in 2006 and permanent residents of Jerusalem, submitted an urgent motion for injunction to the Israeli Supreme Court to stop the deportation process against them.
The Israeli police notified Mr. Abu Teir in May 2010 that he must leave Jerusalem by 19 June 2010, while Mr. Attoun, Mr. Totah and Mr. Abu Arafeh were ordered to leave by 3 July 2010 and that their residency had been revoked. The Members of Parliament (MPs) were given a choice by the Interior Minister: to give up their membership in the PLC or to have their residency rights in Jerusalem revoked. The deportation violates the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the deportation of protected persons from occupied territory. It is an extremely dangerous and unprecedented step.
The motion for injunction was submitted by Attorneys Usama Sa'adi and Fadi Qawasmi, with the support of Adalah Attorney Hassan Jabareen and Attorney Oded Feller of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). It is part of a petition filed to the Supreme Court in 2006 immediately following the Interior Minister's decision to revoke the permanent residency status of the four men on the grounds that they were deemed to be residents of Israel and, therefore, obliged to be loyal to Israel. Nonetheless their actions, membership in the PLC, a “foreign parliament”, proved otherwise and indicated that their allegiance was to the Palestinian Authority. Adalah and ACRI joined the petition in 2007 as amicus curiae, in light of the principle issues raised and the severe violation of fundamental rights entailed by the extreme practice of revoking the status of citizens and residents for “breach of trust.” Despite the issuance of the deportation orders, the case remains pending before the Supreme Court.
The petitioners and amicus curiae argued before the Supreme Court that the Interior Minister's decision to revoke the residency of members of the Palestinian parliament gravely violates their rights, and that the law does not grant the minister the authority to cancel permanent residency for “breach of trust” or due to membership in a foreign parliament.