The interior minister’s revoking of an East Jerusalemite’s residency status this week may have been the brainchild of his two predecessors who did not have the gumption to make the move, sources say.
They say the recent wave of terror attacks in Jerusalem has made the step easier to justify.
On Sunday, Interior Minister Gilad Erdan revoked the permanent-residency status of East Jerusalem resident Mohammed Nadi, the Palestinian who drove the suicide bomber in the 2001 attack on Tel Aviv’s Dolphinarium club, where 21 people were killed. He served 10 years in prison.
Erdan linked his decision to the recent wave of terror attacks, though the idea to revoke Nadi’s residency may have come from Eli Yishai two years ago, when the Shas politician was interior minister. Sources say Yishai’s successor Gideon Sa’ar continued the effort, and finally Erdan. In his statement Sunday, Erdan did not mention the efforts of his predecessors.
Yishai said Tuesday he did not remember, though it’s possible he indeed launched the process.
The sources say Yishai sought to revoke Nadi’s status roughly one year after he was released from prison. Yishai also sought to revoke the citizenship of Mohammed Mafarja, a Taibeh resident who placed an explosive on a Tel Aviv bus in November 2012 during Operation Pillar of Defense, wounding dozens.
Yishai did not complete the process before Sa’ar took over in March 2013. Sa’ar sent Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein a similar request regarding Nadi, but was told to wait until proceedings against Mafarja were completed. Sa’ar was eventually told that the interior minister does not need the approval of a court or the attorney general to revoke permanent-residency status.
Erdan’s decision came just a day after he said he had asked his staff to look into extending his powers. This would let him revoke the permanent-residency status and social benefits of East Jerusalem Arabs who encouraged terror and incited violence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to present a bill in the near future that seeks to implement the ideas proposed by Erdan.