Israel Plans to Revoke Citizenship of Israeli Arab Terrorists

Two of those who recently carried out attacks will be stripped of their citizenship, pending permission of the attorney general.

Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior
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Israeli police arrest an Israeli Arab man during clashes in Nazareth. October 10, 2015
Israeli police arrest an Israeli Arab man during clashes in Nazareth. October 10, 2015Credit: Reuters
Ilan Lior
Ilan Lior

Israeli Interior Minister Silvan Shalom said he plans to revoke the citizenship of two Israeli Arabs who carried out terror attacks.

Shalom briefed the attorney general Thursday of his move to revoke the Israeli citizenship of Ala’a Ziwad of Umm al-Fahm and Asra’a Zidan Tawfik Abed of Nazareth.

Ziwad, 20, is suspected of ramming his car into a soldier and stabbing three other people near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel on Monday. Abed, 30, of Nazareth, allegedly brandished a knife and is suspected of intending to stab a security guard before being shot dead.

Video footage of the latter incident, which evoked criticism from Arab MKs, showed Abed had been shot several times at short range while standing motionless.

The law authorizes the interior minister to revoke a person’s citizenship after he is convicted of committing a terror act.

“There’s no need to overstate the importance of Israeli citizenship, which encompasses the citizen’s duty of loyalty to the state and the state’s to its citizensall the more so when the citizenship is abused to harm civilians and state security,” Shalom said.

Revoking citizenship or residence status rescinds all the social rights a citizen or resident is entitled to, including national insurance allocations and health maintenance organization membership.

The minister said in a statement that he was acting in the wake of a debate in the security cabinet. He also said another request, to revoke the citizenship of four other citizens who were involved in terror acts, is pending the attorney general’s approval.

Last week Shalom said he would revoke the permanent residency status of East Jerusalem residents involved in terror acts. For this he does not require the court’s approval, as the law authorizes him to revoke residence status at his own discretion.

Former interior minister Ophir Pines-Paz revoked in 2005 the permanent residency status of four East Jerusalem residents who were involved in several attacks. In 2006 then interior minister Ronnie Bar-On revoked permanent residency status of four East Jerusalem residents who had been elected to the Palestinian parliament by Hamas.

Last November former interior minister Gilad Erdan revoked the permanent residency of Mahmoud Nadi, who had given a ride to the suicide bomber who blew himself up in the Dolphinarium discotheque in Tel Aviv in 2001, killing 21 people and wounding 120, most of them youngsters.

The Nazareth District Court yesterday approved a three-month detention-without-trial order that had been issued by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon against an Israeli Arab woman, 19, who told her relatives in a text message that she wanted to be a shahid.

The last time a detention order had been issued against an Israeli Arab was 14 years ago, in 2001, due to suspicions of making contact with a foreign agent and other security offenses.

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