Palestinians Convicted of ‘Terror Acts’ Could Be Expelled from East Jerusalem

Israel’s interior minister may soon be able to deport hundreds of Palestinians by cancelling their Israeli citizenship or revoking their residency status in occupied East Jerusalem. The Knesset passed last year legislation allowing for the deportation of Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel or Palestinians residents of East Jerusalem if they are convicted of a terror act and have allegedly received compensation from the Palestinian Authority (PA) for committing it.

Att. Salah Hamouri during a conference on Palestine held in Toulosue, France, May 17, 2023 (Footage: French TV)

The information needed comes from the National Bureau for Counter-Terror Financing, which operates under the Israeli Ministry of Defense and compiles annual reports about money transfers made by the PA to Palestinians suspected of carrying out attacks against Israelis. The data has since been made available, MK Amit Halevy (Likud), one of the bill sponsors, told Hebrew media last week. This means the interior minister can start revoking the citizenship of “hundreds of terrorists who are in jail or who have been freed and expel them from Israel”, Halevy said. According to the law, the interior minister must consult with the justice minister before signing any deportation order, and individuals affected can contest the order in court. 

MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash) dubbed the law “fundamentally racist”. “No one ever thought of revoking the citizenship of Jewish terrorists. Revoking citizenship or residency is a fundamentally wrong, anti-democratic, and evil injustice and has nothing to do with security or deterrence,” Cassif said. He warned that though the legislation currently takes aim at Palestinians, the target could soon expand to include dissenting Israelis. “It will continue, and it will reach every opponent of the regime”, he said.

In December 2022, a Palestinian attorney, Salah Hamouri was deported from Israel to France, with the Israeli Interior Ministry citing security concerns. The French government condemned the move, claiming that the move violated his right to live in his native Jerusalem. Hadash MKs condemned the deportation and stated that Israel was committing a war crime and the expulsion was ethnic cleansing.

According to rights group Adalah, there are over 65 Israeli laws that directly or indirectly discriminate against Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinian residents of the Occupied Palestinian Territory. During last years the far-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has worked to severely curtail the rights of Palestinians living in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.