The Israeli parliament passed a law which confers power on the state to strip Arabs convicted of terror offences of citizenship or residency and deport them if they have accepted financial aid from the Palestinian Authority.
The new law was enacted to discourage what Israel calls “pay for slay” stipends, which give assistance to the families of those imprisoned. The parliament says the longstanding practice serves as an incentive to engage in violent activities.
“It is inconceivable that Israeli citizens and residents who have not only betrayed the state and Israeli society but have also agreed to receive payment from the PA as wages for committing the act of terrorism, and continue to benefit from it, will continue to hold Israeli citizenship or residency status,” an explanatory note to the bill says.
The deportation from East Jerusalem, annexed in 1967 by Israel, would be considered a war crime under international law.
Jewish members of the Knesset, including the opposition, voted in favour of the legislation, which passed 94-10. Arab lawmakers expectedly voted against it. Ahmad Tibi, the leader of the opposition Ta’al party, which advocates for the rights of Israel’s Arab minority, said the bill was racist because it did not apply to Jews convicted of terrorism.
“An Arab who commits an offence is a conditional citizen,” he said. “If a Jew commits the same or more serious offense, they don’t even think of revoking his citizenship.”
The head of the Palestinian prisoners’ club, Kadoura Fares, a West Bank-based group that represents inmates and their families, derided the law as a “very dangerous decision that aims to transfer Palestinians from their cities and villages under the pretext of getting social assistance from the Palestinian Authority”..
The supreme court in Israel ruled that the state could revoke the citizenship of people convicted of acts that constitute a “breach of loyalty”, including terrorism, espionage and treason.
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