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Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15Palestinians marking the 64 anniversary of al-Nakba (catastrophe) with protests, while Israeli security reacted with conducted arrests campaigns on May 15

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Today: Nov 15, 2018

Residency Rights

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Revocation of Palestinian residency rights in Jerusalem

Revocation of Palestinian residency rights in Jerusalem until June 2, 2010

JCSER reveals the number of revoked ID cards during 2007 and 2008

In its advisory opinion of July 9, 2004 regarding the Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, International Court of Justice reiterated International Law position towards the legal status of the oPt which was seized by Israel in 1967 including East Jerusalem and concluded that they "remain occupied territories and that Israel has continued to have the status of occupying power."

Thus the applicable law on the oPt consists of the following:

- United Nations Charter

- General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV) - Illegality of any territorial acquisition resulting from the threat or use of force.

- Right of peoples to self-determination.

- International humanitarian law

- Regulations annexed to the Fourth Hague Convention of 1907

- Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 -

- Applicability of Fourth Geneva Convention in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

- Human rights Law.

- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

- International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

- Convention on the Rights of the Child

- Relationship between international humanitarian law and human rights law

- Applicability of human rights instruments outside national territory.

- Applicability of those instruments in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Yet, in blatant defiance to IL, Israel applied its own laws on the occupied territories, included Jerusalem and on 30 July 1980, the Israeli government issued the Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel, where article 1 stipulates that, ''Jerusalem, eternal and indivisible, is the capital of the state of Israel." However, the UN Security Council responded with its resolution 478 which "determined that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the recent "basic law" on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith."

Nevertheless, Israel continues to apply its own laws in the city and the major trend of its policy is to limit the number of Palestinian population in Jerusalem because demography constitutes the core essence of the conflict over the city. Within this context, Israel conducted a population census in 1967 which counted 66,000 Palestinians within the new expanded boundaries of the city who were issued blue identity cards which means they are permanent residents in their city and not citizens. Israel regulates the issuing of residence permits to Palestinians in Jerusalem with reference to the Israeli Law of Entry into Israel, 1952 and Entry to Israel Regulations of 1974. Some 100,000 Palestinians used to live in Jerusalem before its occupation.

The Palestinians who were not counted during the census because of their presence outside Jerusalem for studying, working or visiting relatives outside Jerusalem borders had to apply for family reunification to the Ministry of the Interior in order to live legally in their city. However, the decision to grant or deny these applications is ultimately at the discretion of the Interior Minister who is not required to justify refusal. However, the ministry does not have the authority to deny entry to any Jew. This context makes that residency rights to Israeli citizens are automatically granted, while the residency rights of Palestinians in Jerusalem are restricted and violated in several ways.

A residency status is normally granted to foreigners living in Israel and differs substantially from citizenship. The main right granted to permanent residents is to live and work in Israel without the necessity of special permits. They are also entitled to social benefits which they pay for to the National Insurance Institute, and have the right to vote in local elections. Unlike citizenship, residency is only passed on to the holders children when the holder meets certain conditions, and the holder must apply for family unification for a non-resident spouse. Only citizens are granted the right to return to Israel. As residents, Palestinians are entitled to some of the benefits of citizenship, but required to fulfill most of the obligations, except for army service, with some additional restrictions.

In spite of these obligations and restrictions, Palestinian Jerusalemites have many rights not enjoyed by Palestinian residents of the rest of the Occupied Territories. For example, East Jerusalem residents carry Jerusalem ID Cards, which means almost complete freedom of movement within the country.

In 1973, the Israeli ministerial committee, known as "Gavni Commission" laid down the policy that the city's demographic balance must be maintained at a ratio of 70% Jews to 30% Palestinians. But in 2006, the population ratio had changed in favor of the Palestinian population with 34% Arabs to 64.5% Jews, according to statistics of Jerusalem Institute of Israeli Studies, Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem, 2007/08. The institute estimates that by 2035 that the percentage of Jews in Jerusalem will drop to 50% in the city.

In 2008, Jerusalems population stood at 760,800, with 492,400 Jews and 268,400 Arabs, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, while the number is 378,394 according to estimates of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

Peace accord escalated ID revocation

In conjunction with signing Oslo Accords between PLO and Israel in 1993, Israeli Ministry of Interior began to intensify its inspections about the Palestinians who moved to live outside the municipal boundaries in order to revoke their residency rights. It was decided that the Jerusalem suburbs would be considered to be outside the city borders. It was estimated that between 50,000 and 80,000 of East Jerusalems 180,000 Palestinian inhabitants had moved to the suburbs outside the Jerusalem city.

In 1995, the Interior Ministry introduced the "centre of life" policy. Palestinians with Jerusalem IDs were required to prove continuous residency in Jerusalem by submitting documents to demonstrate that they actually resided in the city for the previous seven years. The requirements to prove the "centre of life" are so detailed that even persons who never left the city have difficulties meeting them. The requirements related to this are characterized by ambiguity and vagueness. Usually an applicant has to submit documents concerning:

- Arnona residency tax for the previous two to seven years;

- Electricity bills for the previous two to seven years;

- Telephone bills for the previous two to seven years;

- School certificates of all children to show that the school is located inside the municipal borders. The certificate must cover the grades since he/she was admitted to school;

- Work certificates.

The following elements are part of the centre of life policy:

- Revocation of residency status by confiscating ID Cards from persons who cannot prove that their centre of life is in Jerusalem.

- Refusal and complicated procedures to show ones centre of life for family unification.

- Refusal to register children born to parents of whom only one is an East Jerusalem resident in the Population registry.

In 1996, Israeli occupation government decided that any Jerusalemite who lives in West Bank more than seven years, would cease to be a permanent resident. In case of mixed marriages between holder of the permanent residency status and a spouse from West Bank or from abroad must apply for family reunification in order to live legally with their spouses in Jerusalem. Yet, most of these applications are rejected with no need for justification.

Family unification

Jerusalem residents married to persons who are not Israeli residents or citizens must apply for family unification in order to live legally in the city. The application is being checked on "centre of life", security and criminal record. It can take years before the applicant receives a decision to his or her application. When the applicant receives approval, a process of five years starts. Every year both the applicant as well as the one for whom the applicant applies have to show all the requested documents and the application is checked on the above mentioned issues. During the first two years the person receives a so-called B1 permit, which means that the person can stay, but has no residency rights. After two years the person receives a temporary residency permit. After five years one receives a permanent residency permit.

This policy severely affects family life, the right of a couple to live together, and the right of children to live with their parents. Many families are divided because of this policy. Family unification for Jewish families is an automatic right.

Child Registration

A child born to parents of whom only one is a resident of East Jerusalem does not receive an identity number. After birth, the parents receive only a form titled "notification of live birth". To receive an identity number, the parents must submit a "request to register a birth" and submit to this request proof that the "centre of life" is in Jerusalem. It is estimated that there are currently at least 10,000 children residing in East Jerusalem who are not registered.

Without a Jerusalem ID number, Palestinian children are denied some basic rights. A child must have his/her birth registered in order to be recognized by the state. By denying or restricting registration, the state can effectively disclaim their rights to any benefit or service, including access to and provision of education, health care and others.


Practices when applying for services at the Interior Ministry Palestinian Jerusalemites have for long complained about the inhuman conditions to which they are exposed by the office of the Ministry of the Interior. The conditions contradict existing Israeli laws and strongly contravene with the internationally acknowledged standards pertaining to the respect of economic and social rights and the principles of equality and impartiality.

The Palestinian residents are exposed to mistreatment and arbitrary procedures of the staff of the office. They are repeatedly and exaggeratedly asked to report in comparison with the requests made by staff to Israelis in West Jerusalem. Israeli residents receive certain services through mail, which is not the case for most Palestinian residents. When requested to appear in the offices, Israelis are never requested to show any documents to prove their residency or citizenship. Palestinians, on the contrary, are requested to provide innumerable documents to prove their "centre of life" in the city.

In many cases, people have had to queue up for long hours and when their turn comes, sometimes the guard declares the termination of the working hours or that the computer is out of order and people are forced to go home again without having gained access to the office. Misleading or absent information has often been related to granting public services.

As a result, Palestinians have often lacked information on required fees, the type of documents they should enclose with their application or the working hours, which are in the morning in contrast to the West Jerusalem offices that remain open in the afternoon. Furthermore, Hebrew is the only language used most of the time, although Arabic is the second official language in Israel. Many Palestinians do not understand Hebrew, which makes the communication with the Ministry a frustrating process. They have to use application documents without being able to understand the contents.

Silent transfer

After the outbreak of the al-Aqsa intifada in October 2000, Israel decided to freeze the processing of family unification applications, and in May 2002, Israeli government adopted resolution no. 1813 in which it halted processing all family unification applications. On July 2003, the Knesset approved by a vote of 53 to 25 a bill to prevent Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens from receiving Israeli citizenship or permanent residency status, thus prohibiting them from residing in Israeli or Jerusalem. The law is to become an amendment to a clause in the Citizenship Law relating to family unification, Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law - Temporary Order 2003, which was applied retroactively. The pretext that stands behind this policy was "security" though the real reason is demographically motivated. Also, children born in Occupied Territories to permanent residents of Israel are affected as they will only be recognized as Israeli residents upon an approved family reunification applications, however, such applications were frozen in May 2002.

On July 21, 2004 Israeli Knesset voted to extent the Citizenship Law by another six months. However, on May 14, 2006 Israeli High Court upheld the law and its chief judge Aharon Barak described it as and infringement of human rights, but it was outvoted by six to five judges on the grounds that it was appropriate to limit human rights for the sake of enhancing Israel's security.

This deliberate policy of ethnic cleansing or silent transfer, through court judgments, legal and administrative tactics, has resulted in the revocation of more than 13,000 ID cards. From 1967 to 2006, Israeli Interior Ministry revoked 8,558 ID cards, but in 2008, the ministry revoked the residency of 4,577 which means 21 times the average of the previous 40 years of occupation. In other words, among all the Palestinians who lost their residency rights since the beginning of occupation, about 50% did so in 2008.

Israeli policy breaches GCIV

Israel's residency policy breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention:

Article 26 & 27: Family reunification, to respect family rights and the right to live together.

Article 49: Individual or mass forcible transfers are prohibited.
Article 50: Facilitate the registration, care and education of children.