Ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem gathers pace

December 4, 2009
Richard Kuper


HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual is an Israeli human rights organization whose main objective is to assist Palestinians of the Occupied Territories whose rights are violated due to Israel’s policies.

In 2008, the Ministry of the Interior revoked the Israeli residency status of 4,577 residents of East Jerusalem – including 99 minors. The number of cases of revocation of residency in 2008 alone is equal to approximately one half the total number of cases of residency revocation between 1967 and 2007

In April 2009, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual sent an application under the Freedom of Information Law to the Ministry of the Interior, for receipt of information about the revocation of status from residents in East Jerusalem in 2008. This application was submitted by Hamoked for the second year in a row, after being forced to petition the court on the matter. The figures submitted by the Ministry of Interior clearly indicate a considerable broadening of the application of the residency revocation policy exercised by Israel in East Jerusalem since its occupation. This policy and Israel’s efforts to “encourage” residents of East Jerusalem who have lived there for many generations to uproot themselves and move elsewhere has been consistent over many years. The annexation of East Jerusalem to Israel has rendered the residents of the annexed area permanent residents of Israel, a status that differs from that of citizens in that residency may be revoked at the discretion of the Ministry of Interior. The revocation of residency status is not automatic, since the administrative authority has discretion in the matter. According to the data received, most of the revocations in 2008 were performed as part of a “campaign” which the Ministry initiated between March and April 2008, during which the Ministry actively sought out Palestinians who had lived outside of Israel for more than seven years and revoked their residency under the revocation parameters set forth in the law. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip have been considered “abroad” for purposes of status revocation since 1996.
A disturbing fact that emerges from the figures is that the total number of residency revocations in East Jerusalem in 2008 is equal to more than 50% of the total residency revocations performed by the Ministry of the Interior in East Jerusalem over the first 40 years of occupation: from the beginning of the occupation in 1967 until 2007, the Ministry of the Interior revoked the status of more than 8,500 residents of East Jerusalem.

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