Israel plans new law to ban Palestinians from Jerusalem

A proposed new law will give Israel wider powers to strip Palestinians of their right to live in the occupied east Jerusalem and the Golan heights. The legislation follows earlier attempts to remove social security benefits and family reunification rights from Palestinians in Jerusalem.

This time around, the Zionists are going after the right to residency, Sani Khoury, a lawyer in Jerusalem told Arab news. The draft law approved by the Israel parliament’s legislative committee allows the government to withdraw residency from any Palestinian deemed by Israel to be involved in terrorism, whether they have been convicted of a crime or not.

Right-wing Knesset members appear to be in a race to see who can sponsor the most racist law against Palestinians, Khoury pointed out adding “note that they did not withdraw social benefits or the residency rights of Yigel Amir, the killer of the former Prime Minister Yitshaq Rabin.”

Israel annexed East Jerusalem in 1967 and the Golan Heights in 1980. People who live there may remain if they abide by certain Israeli administrative procedures.

Palestinians with permanent residency cannot lose their right to live in Jerusalem provided the city is the center of their lives. Hanna Issa, a lawyer in Jerusalem who specializes in international law, told Arab News. But if they lived away from Jerusalem for seven years then this right can be withdrawn.

Even living in nearby Ramallah or Bethlehem constitutes not living in Jerusalem and can be used against Palestinians to withdraw their residency, Issa said. The Association for Civil Rights in Israel has documented the cases of nearly 15,000 Palestinians in Jerusalem who have lost their residency status.

The new draft law appears to be aimed at thwarting an attempt by four Palestinians from Jerusalem to have their administrative banishment from the city overturned by the Israel Supreme Court.

The former Palestinian minister for Jerusalem affairs, Khaled Abu Afareh, and three elected members of the Palestinian legislative council, Ahmad Ottwan, Mohammed Totah and Mohammad Abu Tier were banned from Jerusalem shortly after the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections. Their crime, according to the Israel prosecutor, was taking part in the elections on behalf of the pro-Hamas Islamists Change and Reform List. For the Israeli prosecution officials, by taken part in the elections the four showed that they were not loyal to the state of Israel.

The four men have been arrested three times since 2006, and are engaged in a legal tussle to have the ban reversed.

Abu Arafeh lives in a temporary home in Ramallah, and has been unable to travel or attend family events in Jerusalem or elsewhere.

“My son is graduating from university this summer in Jordan and my daughter will graduate from high school in Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood, and I will not be able to attend both events.” He said.

Meanwhile, the Israel government has also approved a draft law punishing the Palestinian government for making payments to the families of prisoners and those who have died resisting occupation. The new law will cut tax revenues allocated to the Palestinians by the same amount as the payments made out by the Palestinian authorities. The Palestinian government has called the law “theft of Palestinian money”.

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