Israeli Ministers to Vote on Bill That Would Permit Expulsion of Palestinians From Jerusalem

Proposed legislation would allow Israel to strip residency status from Palestinians in Jerusalem, Golan Heights under certain conditions, like involvement in terrorism

People walk in front of closed stores in an East Jerusalem neighborhood, September 20, 2017.
Olivier Fitoussi

A bill giving the interior minister the authority to strip Palestinians living in Jerusalem or the Golan Heights of their permanent residency status under certain conditions will be submitted to a coalition committee for review on Sunday.

The bill, known as the Mohammed Abu Tir bill, would allow Israel to strip Palestinians in Jerusalem or the Golan Heights of their residency if they are involved in terrorism or have committed breach of trust against the state. The committee will vote on whether the coalition will support the bill.

The draft law was submitted by Likud lawmaker Amir Ohana in response to a ruling by the High Court of Justice in September voiding the Interior Ministry’s 2006 decision stripping four East Jerusalem Palestinians of their residency status. One of the four was a member of the Palestinian cabinet, while the other three were elected to the Palestinian parliament, representing a slate affiliated with Hamas.

The justices ruled that the interior minister had exceeded his authority in revoking the men’s residency, but deferred implementation of their ruling for six months to give the Knesset time to pass a law permitting the withdrawal of residency.

In January 2006, Mohammed Abu Tir, Mohammed Amran Totah and Ahmed Mohammed Atoun were elected to the Palestinian parliament on the Hamas-affiliated Reform and Change ticket, while Khaled Abu Arafeh, who didn’t run, was appointed to the Palestinian cabinet on behalf of the party. Four months later, then-Interior Minister Roni Bar-On told them he would revoke their permanent residency status unless they resigned their parliament and cabinet seats, which they refused to do. On June 2006, their residency was revoked on the grounds that they were “key activists in the institutions of a terrorist organization, Hamas.”