The overwhelming approval of Israel’s parliament for a law that would strip Arabs from their Israeli citizenship and residency in the event they were convicted of nationalistic attacks or money laundering has been approved.
The hard-right coalition of Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu and many other opposition politicians voted 94 to 10 in favor of the law. Arab representatives voted against.
This gives authorities the power to deport people to the West Bank or Gaza Strip and strip them of their citizenship.
This decision could have a significant impact on hundreds of Palestinian residents and citizens of Israel. It was also condemned by Arab politicians and Palestinian officials in the occupied West Bank.
This vote comes after months of Israeli attacks on militants in West Bank and Palestinian street attacks against Israelis.
Internationally recognized Palestinian Authority (PA), has provided money to families of Palestinians who were killed or imprisoned in connection with attacks on Israelis.
The PA views prisoners as heroes in Palestinian society. They consider these payments a form welfare for needy families.
Israel claims that they do not reward violence.
HaMoked, an Israeli rights group, reports that approximately 4,700 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons for security offenses.
360 of these are Israeli citizens, or residents of east Jerusalem. They were captured by Israel during the 1967 war, and later annexed.
In parts of the West Bank, the PA is limited in autonomy and Israel has total control. Gaza Strip is controlled by Hamas militants and is largely closed off by an Israeli-Egyptian blocade.
Although Israel considers Jerusalem its undivided capital and all of it Jerusalem is its sovereign capital, the annexation by Israel of the eastern portion of the city has not been recognized internationally.
The majority of Palestinians living in Jerusalem are granted Israeli residency rights. This allows them to travel and work freely, and gives them access to Israeli social services. However, they do not have full citizenship which would allow them vote.
“An Arab who commits a crime is a conditional citizen”
The bill was supported by Jewish politicians and the opposition. However, it was opposed by Arab representatives.
Ahmad Tibi, an Arab politician, said that the bill is racist as it applies only to Palestinians convicted for violence.
He stated that an Arab who is guilty of an offence is a conditional citizen.
“If a Jew is convicted of the same offense or a more serious offence, they won’t even consider revoking his citizenship.”
HaMoked stated that the law could affect 140 Arab citizens as well as 211 Jerusalem residents.
It also stated that east Jerusalem is a disputed territory and that any transfer of the population would be against international humanitarian law.
Jessica Montell, HaMoked executive director, stated that it was shameful that the law was passed and received overwhelming support from the opposition.