Jerusalem Residency
Claiming residency rights

The Society of St. Yves managed to renew H’s permanent residency status which was arbitrarily revoked on the demonstrably false grounds that he accepted a permanent residency in another country.

H, a resident of Beit Hanina, is a doctoral student in Virginia University. He was awarded a four years scholarship with an option for a fifth year extension. During his studies, H of course had to reside in the United States in the vicinity of the University until the completion of his studies. H never had the intention of residing permanently in the US and at all times wished to return and reside in his native Jerusalem.

H, as is customary in the US, was issued with a ‘Student limited time Green Card’ to assist him in his living expenses not covered by the scholarship.

In May 2008 the Ministry of Interior revoked his Permanent Residency on the ground that he had “received or accepted Permanent Residency in the US.” This revocation of Jerusalem residency was said to be pursuant to clauses 11 and 11(a) of the Entry into Israel Regulations from 1974. These and other provisions of the Entry into Israel Act, and the regulations made pursuant to the Act, serve to revoke the residency of a person who settles permanently in another country. Settling permanently is defined in the regulations as staying for over seven years in that country or accepting citizenship or permanent residency of that country.

The Ministry of the Interior based its decision on its own presumption or rather baseless interpretation that the “green card” gives H a permanent residency in the United States. The Ministry chose to ignore the fact that the “green card” issued to H was a student permission for limited work during the approved study period and bore no entitlement nor did it indicate any future entitlement to residency in the US for more than the agreed upon study period. In plain and simple language and US governmental intent this “green card” was nothing more or less that a limited permission to work during a period of temporary residency defined by the term of the scholarship and the study period.

Clearly the law states that the Permanent Residency of a (Palestinian) person may be revoked if he has accepted citizenship or Permanent Residency of another country.

This was demonstrably not the case with H and the Society’s lawyers in a petition to the Ministry of the Interior argued that the decision to revoke was made arbitrarily and without due reference to the Law and Regulations and further that the Ministry’s officials had failed to take account of District Court decisions that specifically stated that limited student green cards could in no way be held to confer permanent residency in another country. The Society’s lawyers argued in short that the Entry into Israel Law and Regulations did not in any way apply to H.

Following the petition H was summoned to a hearing in the Ministry of the Interior with a Society lawyer and the Ministry annulled and voided the revocation of H’s Permanent Residency.

Related Items

• Claiming residency rights • Roots of the residency problem in Jerusalem • The legal status of Palestinians in Jerusalem
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