Israel decided to back a bill draft that will legitimize revoking permanent residencies granted to Palestinians living in Jerusalem and Syrian Arabs living in Golan Heights settlements.
The bill supports the revocation of permits based on alleged terrorism.
The decision was made at the request of the Minister of the Interior Aryeh Deri, in order to circumvent the Israeli High Court of Justice in West Jerusalem, which decided in September to annul a decade-old decision to revoke the residency permits of four Palestinians residing in Jerusalem.
The four are: Khaled Abu Arafa, Mohamed Abu Tair, Mohammed Omran Tahtooh and Ahmad Mohammed Atwan.
Former Interior Minister Roni Bar-On, angered by the Palestinian Authority, decided after Abu Tair, Tahtooh and Atwan were elected to the Palestinian Legislative Council on behalf of the Hamas reformist list and Abu Arafa was appointed minister in the Palestinian government.
At the time, Bar-On claimed that the election of these four would mean breaching loyalty to Israel and contradicting Oslo Accords.
Palestinians and Israeli human rights organizations objected to the decision and began a long process of protest. Then, Supreme Court judges decided that Bar-On acted in an unauthorized manner when he withdrew the residency permit from the four. However, the court suspended the implementation of the decision for half a year, and did not annul it, to enable the Knesset to enact a law allowing the withdrawal of the four’s permit still.
Likud Party Lawmaker Amir Ohana is trying to recruit a majority of supporters of the law in the Knesset, claiming that it is “the most effective weapon against Palestinian leaders who are leading campaigns of incitement against Israel and Jews in the Israeli territories.”
“The residents of Jerusalem and the Arab Golan must understand that there is a new reality in their neighborhoods, and that Israel has the final say there,” he said.
The government bill specifies three cases in which the Minister of the Interior is entitled to revoke the permanent residency permit for citizens: if the permit is given on the basis of false details, if the holder threatens public safety or security of the public or if he violates loyalty to the State of Israel.
More so, the bill stipulates that it will apply to all permanent residents, immigrants who arrived in Israel and residents of East Jerusalem who have lived in the country for many years.
According to the bill, the Minister of the Interior will have to grant an alternative status to the person whose residency is revoked if it is found that the person cannot obtain a permit to reside permanently in another country.