On Wednesday, 7 March 2018, the Knesset approved in the final reading a bill that allows the Israeli Minister of Interior to revoke a person’s residency status, so-called “Jerusalemite ID”, which the overwhelming majority of residents of the occupying Syrian Golan Heights also possess.
The residency status is revoked if the occupying authorities charge a resident with committing a “terrorist” operation in line with the definition of terrorism under the Israeli law, commits an act that is characterised as “treason against the State of Israel”, or is an effective activist in a “terrorist” organisation according to the Israeli definition or which Israel has declared to be as such. The latter applies to the majority of Palestinian organisations.
The law is applicable to every person who has possessed a residence card for more than 15 years. In other words, the law is not enforced to children under 15 years of age. If a person whose permanent residency status is revoked does not have another citizenship or does not have the right to a permanent residency status in any other area “outside Israel”, they will be granted a “permit to be present in Israel”. In other words, that person will be dispossessed of all social rights. They will be prevented from moving outside, or returning to, the country.
According to the Knesset announcement, the bill consolidates the provisions of two laws. One was initiated by MKs, including MK Amir Ohana from the Likud party as well as seven others from the coalition parties. The other is a government law, which the Knesset approved in the first reading on 26 February 2018. The bill is considered as an “alleviated” version, so to speak. Earlier, it was applicable to every person whose residency status was less than 10 years. The minister, who represented the government then, said the law was not applicable to the residents of Jerusalem.
However, in a single and quick session, the Knesset Internal Affairs and Environment Committee approved that both laws be consolidated and enforced to the residents of Jerusalem, excluding their children under 15 years of age.
Practically, the finally approved version will subject political activists in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights to immediate transfer from the country.
According to the provisions of the bill, a person is entitled to challenge the Minister of Interior’s decision before the Administrative Court. However, the law does not allow a person to resort to Israeli higher courts, including the Central or Higher Court.
The bill was supported by 64 MKs and opposed by 18 others.