Israel advances law revoking residency of Palestinians with terrorist ties
AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner
The Knesset (parliament) on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved (63 in favor, 17 against) in a preliminary reading a bill that would enable Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri to revoke the permanent residency status of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem or in the northern Golan Heights region for “breach of trust” against the State of Israel.
The measure, known as the Mohammed Abu Tir bill, defines ‘breach of trust’ as having ties with terrorist groups or potential terrorists.
The bill may also extend to Palestinians involved in clashes with Israel Defense Forces, which is considered a terrorist offense under Israeli law.
The proposed law was put forth by Likud lawmaker Amir Ohana in response to a High Court ruling in September which that the Interior Ministry did not have the right to revoke the residency status of four east Jerusalem Palestinians who served in various capacities in the Palestinian Authority government, including three who were elected to parliament on a Hamas-affiliated ballot.
The High Court had ruled that the interior ministry did not have the authority to strip the four men of their residency status, which occurred back in 2006, but just like in its ruling on withholding terrorist bodies, the High Court granted the state six months to draft a law that would empower the government, in effect, retroactively and going forward.
The bill touches on perhaps the most contested issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--the status of Jerusalem.
Israel seized the largely-Arab eastern sector of Jerusalem during the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, granting Palestinian residents of the city permanent residency status -- a blue ID card giving them access to social benefits and health care but not full citizenship.
US President Donald Trump's decision on December 6 to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital broke with international consensus and unleashed protests across the Muslim world, prompting a flurry of appeals to the United Nations.
Several UN resolutions call on Israel to withdraw from territory seized in 1967, including a General Assembly motion passed last week rejecting Trump’s decision, which contains the same language as past resolutions adopted by the assembly.
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