In order to “Judaize” Jerusalem, Israel’s strategy of revoking Palestinian residency - that is, stripping Jerusalemites of their right to live in Jerusalem and oftentimes rendering them stateless - is central. Over the years, tens of thousands of Palestinians residing in the occupied city have been affected. The revocation of more than 14,000 residency cards has occurred since 1967 – with 4,557 being revoked in 2008 alone. These efforts act in direct contravention of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which stipulates that forcible transfers of any kind, including movement from the occupied territory to that of the occupying power as well as deportation abroad, are strictly prohibited, regardless of motive involved.
Center of Life Policy
In 1995, the Interior Ministry introduced the “Center of Life” policy, which requires that Palestinians carrying Jerusalem identity cards prove continuous residency in the city upon request. Residents selected for this process are obligated to submit documents indicating that they resided within Jerusalem for the previous seven years. The requirements to prove that Jerusalem is indeed one’s “center of life” are so detailed that even individuals who have never left the city oftentimes find great difficulty in meeting them. When called upon, it is typically required that an applicant has to submit the following documents:
- Arnona (property) tax receipts for the previous three years
- Electricity bills for the previous three years
- Telephone bills for the previous three years
- School certificates of all children to show that the school of attendance is located inside the municipal borders
- Work certificates
- Proof of current health insurance or a letter from the
- National Insurance Institute proving he or she is in possession of insurance coverage
- A bank statement that indicates any children’s allocations are covered by the National Insurance Institute
As such, the Center of Life policy violates Palestinian rights by:
- Revoking residency status by confiscating identity cards from individuals who cannot prove that their “center of life” is in Jerusalem
- Complicating procedures (with the possibility of refusal) for family reunification, where one must now prove a “center of life”
- Increasing the likelihood that only one parent of a child will be an East Jerusalem resident, and thereby rendering him or her ineligible for registration
Israel’s Law of Entry seeks to revoke residency of Palestinians in Jerusalem who:
- Live more than seven continuous years outside of Jerusalem, whether outside of the region or in the West Bank or Gaza.
- Apply for, or are granted, permanent residency in a foreign country.
- Apply for, or are granted, a foreign passport (except for Jordan)
- Marry a foreign national and receive his/her nationality.
- Are suspected of posing a “national threat” to Israel.