Campaign to End ID Card Confiscation in Jerusalem
Intensive efforts of coordination and mobilization by Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, women organizations, and local and international NGOs and solidarity groups working for the protection of Palestinian rights in occupied Jerusalem peaked on April 21 – 22, when the Israeli High Court conducted the hearing of the petition against the Israeli policy of ID card confiscation. Extensive media coverage of the public protest helped creating a situation where, unlike in the past, the High Court hearing was held in a situation of public scrutiny – a fact which no doubt influenced its proceeding and outcome.
On April 21, one day before the court hearing, an international observer delegation composed of seven jurists and legal experts was briefed on the petition by local human rights lawyers. Later that day, the delegation was received by Faisal Husseini at the Orient House, where, together with a large number of representatives of the foreign missions, they were informed of the official Palestinian position in regards to Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem. Mr. Husseini emphasized that – while the implementation of all Israeli law in occupied East Jerusalem is illegal in principle – the Orient House considers the effort by the human rights organizations to tackle the policy of ID card confiscation in the Israeli High Court a positive step, if it can contribute to reducing the immediate suffering of the city’s Palestinian inhabitants.
The High Court hearing on April 22 was accompanied by a vigil of Palestinian victims of ID card confiscation and NGO representatives held outside the Court, while others, including the international observer delegation were present in the Court hall.
The court discussion centered around the question of whether Israel had changed its residency policy in 1996, a fact which was denied by the Israeli State Attorney. In order to resolve this issue, the Court made the following decision:
The State Attorney is obliged to prepare a document summarizing the facts regarding the policy of revocation of residency in East Jerusalem. In addition, he is to prepare a complete account of all cases in which residency was revoked during two sample years prior to 1996 (1989, 32 cases; and 1991, 20 cases) along with an explanation for each revocation. These materials will aid the court in determining whether different criteria have been applied since 1996 (1996-8, 2,083 cases).
The State Attorney materials are to be submitted to the petitioners by the end of July and they can submit their response by the end of September 1999. Only at the end of this process will the court reconvene to continue consideration of the case.
The delegation of international observers present at the hearing will prepare its report for the petitioners and the NGOs, organizers of the Campaign to End ID Card Confiscation. Their report will be submitted to the foreign missions, Palestinian officials and all relevant UN commissions as a tool for lobbying, especially in the framework of the preparations of the special meeting (scheduled for July 1999) of the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to examine ways of enforcing the Convention in the Israeli occupied Palestinian territories.
The High Court Petition was submitted by:
Hamoked-Center for the Defense of the Individual, ACRI, Physicians for Human Rights, Defense for Children International-Israel Section, and the AIC.
The Campaign to End ID Card Confiscation is coordinated by:
Lobby for Human Rights in Jerusalem (Addameer, BADIL Resource Center, Citizen’s Rights Center/Arab Thought Forum, Freedom’s Defense Center, Jerusalem Center for Women, Palestine Human Rights Information Center, Women’s Affairs Technical Committee, Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counseling) and: al Haq, Christian Peacemaker Teams, Council of Palestinian Human Rights Organizations, Jerusalem Center for Economic and Social Rights, Jerusalem Center for Legal Aid, LAW, Palestine Housing Rights Movement, PNGO-Palestinian NGO Network.
In joint effort with: ADAM-Students for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Bat Shalom, B’tselem, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions, Hamoked, Physicians for Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights.
For further information contact:
JCW: tel. 02-2447068; fax. 02-2447069;
LAW: 02-5833430/530; fax. 02-5833317;
B’tselem: tel. 02-5617271; fax. 02-5610756;