Israel strips attacker’s widow of residency

Israel revokes Nadia Abu Jamal’s residency after her husband’s involvement in attack on West Jerusalem synagogue.

Israeli rights group B'Tselem slammed the decision to revoke Nadia Abu Jamal's residency permit [AFP]

Israel has revoked the residency rights of the widow of a Palestinian who carried out a deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue earlier this month, drawing condemnation from human rights groups.

Wednesday’s move came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would seek broad powers to rescind the residency and welfare rights of any Palestinian resident of Israel or occupied East Jerusalem if they, or their relatives, participated in unrest.

Inside Story – Punishing the Palestinians?

“I have ordered the cancellation of Nadia Abu Jamal’s permit to stay in Israel,” Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement.

“Anyone who is involved in terror must take into account that there are likely to be implications for their family members too.”

The statement said the wife of Ghassan Abu Jamal had been granted East Jerusalem residency under a “family reunification” clause allowing residents of the Palestinian territories to stay with spouses who hold either Israeli citizenship or permanent residency.

Palestinians in East Jerusalem have residency rights but not citizenship.

Cousins Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber, killed five people at a synagogue on November 18 before being shot dead by police, in the city’s bloodiest attack in six years.

Collective punishment

Israel has introduced a series of measures against the families of Palestinians involved in attacks in Jerusalem, including the demolition of their homes, under policies that human rights watchdogs have condemned as collective punishment.

Israeli rights group B’Tselem slammed the decision to revoke Abu Jamal’s residency permit.

“We object to this measure. It’s abuse of a minister’s authority and a form of collective punishment,” B’Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli told the AFP news agency.

“She isn’t accused of any harm, and the revoking of her residency status will actually mean she will be banished from her home and thrown out of the city she lives in,” Michaeli said. 

East Jerusalem has witnessed months of unrest, dating back to the July murder of a Palestinian teenager, an act of revenge for the killing of three Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank.

The murder set off a week of riots in Shuafat, the teenager’s neighbourhood, and protests have continued almost every night since.

More than 1,300 residents of East Jerusalem have been arrested since the summer, 40 percent of them children, according to the Palestinian Prisoners Club, an advocacy group.