(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Interior Minister Arye Deri on Sunday filed a request with the Haifa District Court seeking to revoke Alaa Ziad’s citizenship in the wake of his March conviction for an October 11 car-ramming terrorist attack.
Ziad, an Israeli Arab who ran over and stabbed two soldiers and two civilians, one of whom was 15 years old, at Gan Shmuel near Hadera, was convicted by the Haifa District Court on March 10 of four counts of attempted murder.
The state filed Deri’s request after it was approved as being legal by Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit – a requirement under the law.
Adalah Sawsan Zaher and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel’s Oded Feller responded stating: “Even in the most grave case of murdering the prime minister, the High Court rejected a petition to revoke the citizenship of the murderer Yigal Amir in the name of defending the rights of a citizen.”
They added that since Amir’s citizenship was not revoked, it is clear that the enforcement here is “arbitrary, humiliating and connected to foreign considerations” and would never happen to a violent, convicted Jew.
“Revoking citizenship is an extreme action that severely harms human rights because it leaves a human being without any of the rights or defenses that citizenship grants them,” they continued.
The two NGOs said the country can and has exacted an appropriate punishment for Ziad by convicting him in a criminal proceeding, thereby making revoking citizenship unnecessary. They also noted that the US Supreme Court, in a 1958 ruling, rejected revocation of citizenship as “primitive and brutal” and violating international law.
The Justice Ministry had not responded by press time as to why it believed revoking Ziad’s citizenship was justified, but Amir’s was not.
Ziad, a resident of Umm el-Fahm who was born in Nazareth in 1995, is the son of an Israeli-Arab mother and a Palestinian father. His father's citizenship came by virtue of the state’s family reunification law while Ziad's citizenship came through his mother.
A central aspect of Deri’s claim for revoking his citizenship is that he “abused it [his citizenship] to move freely” within Israel in order to perpetrate his terrorist attack.
A special advisory committee, on March 29, cited this abuse of citizenship, as well as that the attack represented a “manifest violation of faithfulness to the State of Israel” as factors that justified revoking his citizenship.
Deri, on March 31, passed his request to Mandelblit, who endorsed it on May 24.
According to the request to the court, even though the right to citizenship is fundamental, it is qualified if one tries to undermine its existence and the ability to defend the country, such as participating in terrorist acts with terrorist groups that are ideologically committed to destroy Israel.
The request further states that it will send an important deterrent message to potential terrorists about the consequences of their actions.