In the name of the six Palestinian human rights organizations (Al-Quds University's Community Action Center, St. Yves, Jerusalem Legal Aid and Human Rights Center (JLAC), the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, Badil, Al-Haq and Al-Quds Human Rights Clinic) who held a diplomatic briefing this morning, Thursday the 14th of April 2016, at the Yabous Cultural Center in Jerusalem we would like to provide you with a brief follow up. We would firstly like to thank you for attending our briefing, thanks to your participation our event was a success.
The briefing, entitled "Punitive residency revocation: the most recent tool of forcible transfer in Jerusalem", aimed at raising awareness of the international community on the alarming use of the punitive residency policy by Israel. Following a brief presentation on the general situation in Jerusalem given by JLAC.
CAC presented the general policy of residency revocation used by Israel since 1967 and focused on the alarming recent application of punitive residency revocations. CAC explained the unprecedented case of the three youths from Sur Baher (Mohammed Salah Mohammed Abu Kaf, Walid Fares Mustafa Atrash, and Abd Mahmoud Abd Rabu Dwayat) accused of throwing rocks at a settler vehicle that allegedly caused the death of the driver. The residency of the three youth was revoked by the minister of Interior on the grounds of non allegiance to the state of Israel. So far, there is a minimum of 12 Palestinians whose residency has been revoked based on this illegal demand of allegiance.
Badil then presented the legal framework of forcible transfer in international law. Al Haq and St Yves then concluded and presented the demands of the organizations. The organizations reiterated that the most recent measure of punitive residency revocation is in no way an isolated case but comes in the context of an ongoing systematic policy of ethnic cleansing which started following the occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967. In order to achieve this aim, Israel has already revoked the residency of more than 14,565 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem. The speakers warned that if this policy is not stopped it will lead to the displacement of thousands of Palestinians from Jerusalem. The panelists emphasized the catastrophic consequences of residency revocations on the lives of Palestinians. Palestinians who lose their right to live in Jerusalem are not only banned from entering their city but also lose their rights to family life, social security, education, work, and many more social, economic and cultural rights.
This briefing comes as part of an advocacy campaign that aims to contribute to halting Israel's forced displacement of East Jerusalem Palestinians. The organizations concluded that the Israeli judicial system allows for unlawful policies and practices to take place with impunity and complete disregard to international law. Accordingly, it is imperative for the international community to address Israeli violations. The briefing thus urged the representatives of third States in the oPt to live up to their obligations under the Geneva Conventions, to exert pressure on the government of Israel, by all legitimate means under international law, to cease all current procedures of punitive residency revocation and to put an end to the illegal demand of allegiance imposed on Palestinians from Jerusalem in order to keep their residency.
The organizations also urged representatives of states to the oPt to:
- Enact the legislation necessary to provide effective penal sanctions for those responsible for the forcible transfer and deportation of Palestinians from East Jerusalem
- Prosecute the current and the previous ministers of interior of Israel, and all those who are responsible for planning and executing the forcible transfer and deportation of Palestinians from East Jerusalem before their national courts
- Encourage an escalated process towards investigation at the ICC of Israeli officials for unlawful policies and practices.