The NGO Hamoked on Wednesday appealed to the Jerusalem District Court to annul a lower court order supporting deportation of the east Jerusalem family members of the terrorist who killed four IDF soldiers in a ramming attack in Armon Hanatziv in 2017.
On September 28, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked sent a letter to Public Security Minister Omer Bar Lev demanding that he deport multiple family members.
Shaked sent the demand following the September 20 ruling by a Special Appeals Court endorsing her decision to revoke their Israeli residency status.
Even before the appeal, it was unclear if Shaked's letter to Bar Lev was a practical measure or a publicity stunt.
It was also unclear to what extent she could force his hand to actually deport them simply because she succeeded at getting their residency status revoked or whether any actual removal would be in limbo and would not go forward given that Bar Lev and other key leaders in the transitional government may dispute Shaked's position.
For his part, Meretz MK Mossi Raz rejected Shaked's call saying that the family had done nothing wrong and that the interior minister was unjustly trying to punish them for the actions of another family member. "We do not deport people just to get Shaked a few more votes," he said.
"We do not deport people just to get Shaked a few more votes."Mossi Raz
On September 20, Shaked said she was issuing a revocation order following a decision earlier in the day by the Special Appeals Court, which handles non-citizen's rights, including sometimes Palestinians and sometimes African migrants, saying that she had this authority.
"This is an important and significant step in the stubborn war I am waging against terrorists and their families and a significant deterrent," said Shaked.
The Armon Hanatziv ramming terror attack
In the 2017 attack, four soldiers were killed, and 17 wounded, when a flatbed truck driven by east Jerusalemite Fadi al-Qanbar rammed into a group of soldiers adjacent to the Armon Hanatziv promenade in southeastern Jerusalem.
Three female soldiers – 20-year-old Lt. Yael Yekutiel of Givatayim, 22-year-old Lt. Shir Hajaj of Ma’aleh Adumim, and 20-year-old Sec.-Lt. Shira Tzur of Haifa – and one male soldier, 20-year-old Sec.-Lt. Erez Orbach of Alon Shvut, were declared dead at the scene.
The proceedings date back to 2018.
The Population Immigration and Borders Authority has argued that the interior minister (which was Arye Deri when the case started) had the authority to cancel residency permits issued for West Bank Palestinians by the Civil Administration.
In particular, they said that the minister could cancel family reunification processes that were incomplete and which were the basis of the residency status in dispute.
The three Palestinians are second-degree relatives of Qanbar whose family reunification processes have not been completed.
PIBA argued that emergency rules gave the interior minister the right to cancel residency statuses in such cases both for clear and concrete security reasons and for other related reasons according to his discretion.
In the appeal on Wednesday, Hamoked lawyer Dani Shenhar disputed PIBA’s position, saying the state has never tried to cancel residency in such circumstances and has no authority to do so.
He said that at most there is a legal basis to cancel residency of persons who are both linked to an attacker and where there is also concrete information that they themselves present some kind of a security risk.
Shenhar said that it is undisputed that none of the three Palestinians in question pose any security risk.
Moreover, Hamoked said that some of the family members’ reunification processes had been improperly dragged out for 17 years and that the fact that the process was incomplete could not be used against them now as a metaphorical legal sword.
Further, Shenhar said that the lower court ignored the relevant proportionality test, choosing residency revocation, the most aggressive possible measure, to address any minor concerns about the family.
In addition, the appeal said that the lower court was essentially endorsing revenge and general deterrence as a basis to revoke residency status.
This clearly violates prior High Court of Justice rulings which allow general deterrence to play a role in house demolitions, but not for revoking residency status, said Hamoked.