JERUSALEM, Feb. 16 (AP) — The Knesset overwhelmingly approved a law Wednesday that would strip Arabs convicted of nationalist attacks of Israeli citizenship or residency if they accept the Palestinian Authority’s allowances, they are deported.
The decision, which could affect hundreds of Palestinian citizens and Israeli residents, has been condemned as racist by Arab lawmakers as well as Palestinian officials in the occupied West Bank.
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The internationally recognized Palestinian Authority has long provided stipends to the families of Palestinians killed or imprisoned for attacks on Israelis.
Prisoners are widely regarded as heroes of Palestinian society, and the Palestinian Authority sees the payments as a form of welfare for needy families. But Israel says they reward violence and encourage others to carry out attacks.
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Some 4,700 Palestinians are imprisoned in Israel for alleged security violations, according to Israeli human rights group HaMoked. Of these, about 360 were citizens of Israel or residents of East Jerusalem, which was captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war and subsequently annexed.
Although Israel considers all of Jerusalem to be its undivided capital, its annexation of the eastern part of the city has not been internationally recognized. Most Palestinians in Jerusalem have Israeli residency, which allows them to work and travel freely and access Israeli social services, but not full citizenship, which would allow them to vote.
In Wednesday’s vote, parliament voted 94 to 10 in favor of the law, which gives authorities the right to strip them of citizenship or residency and deport them to the neighboring West Bank or Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian Authority has limited autonomy over parts of the West Bank over which Israel has full control. Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip is controlled by the Hamas militant group and much of it is closed due to Israeli and Egyptian blockades.
“It is unbelievable that not only have the citizens and residents of Israel betrayed the state and Israeli society, but they have agreed to receive payments from the Palestinian Authority as wages for committing terrorist acts and continue to benefit from them – they will continue to hold Israeli citizens status or residence status,” the bill’s explanatory note said.
Jewish lawmakers across the political spectrum, including the opposition, voted in favor of the bill, while Arab lawmakers voted against it.
Arab MP Ahmad Tibi said the bill was racist because it only applied to Palestinians convicted of violent crimes.
“An Arab who commits a crime is a conditional citizen,” he said, “and if a Jew commits the same or more serious crimes, they will not even consider revoking his citizenship.”
Kadoura Fares, head of the Palestinian Prisoners Club, a West Bank organization that represents prisoners and their families, said the law was “a very dangerous decision designed to remove Palestinians from their cities under the pretext of receiving social assistance from them.” and villages moved out”. Public Radio. “
Israeli human rights group HaMoked said 140 Arab citizens and 211 Jerusalem residents could be affected by the law.
It said Jerusalem residents were particularly vulnerable because they had little legal protection against order. The group also said that since East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory, transferring the population would violate international humanitarian law.
In another case, Israel recently deported a Palestinian man from East Jerusalem to France after he claimed he belonged to a banned militant group.
“It is regrettable that this law was passed with overwhelming support from the opposition,” said Jessica Montell, HaMoked’s executive director. “Revocation of citizenship is a Extreme measures – revoking residency rights and deporting Palestinians in East Jerusalem would be a war crime.” (AP)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)