Israel moves to strip Alaa Zayoud of citizenship

Israel takes unprecedented step of revoking Israeli citizenship from 22-year-old Palestinian, Alaa Zayoud.

Umm al-Fahm Israel Palestine
The Haifa district court ruled to strip imprisoned Alaa Zayoud, a young Palestinian citizen of Israel, of his citizenship [File: AP]

An Israeli court has decided to strip a Palestinian citizen of Israel of his citizenship, sources said Monday, in what rights group said was the first ruling of its kind.

The Haifa district court ruled to strip Alaa Zayoud of his citizenship on Sunday by applying a 2008 law that allows the interior ministry to deprive nationality from those involved in so-called “terrorist activities”, the sources said.

Adalah, an Arab rights group based in Israel, said it was the first court decision of its kind.

Zayoud, a 22-year-old from Umm al-Fahm, was convicted on four counts of attempted murder after he allegedly drove a car into Israeli soldiers in October 2015.

He was sentenced to 25 years in jail in June 2016.

His mother is an Israeli citizen, while his father is a Palestinian with permanent residence in Israel.

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Adalah and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel in a joint statement said they would appeal against the ruling to the Supreme Court.

The court ruling “allows the revocation of Alaa Zayoud’s citizenship [and] sets a most dangerous precedent. It is no coincidence that the concerned individual is an Arab citizen,” the statement said.

“There has never been a request to revoke the citizenship of a Jewish citizen, even when Jewish citizens were involved in serious and grave crimes,” the statement added.

In 1996, the top court rejected a request to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Jewish citizen Yigal Amir, who assassinated then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

“Unfortunately, the court today did not follow the lead of the Supreme Court which refused to order the revocation of the citizenship of Yigal Amir, assassin of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin,” the rights groups said.

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In July, Israel’s interior minister sought to revoke the citizenship of Palestinian activist Azmi Bishara, who is currently based in Qatar.

Palestinians who reside in Israel are the descendents of Palestinians who remained on their land when Israel was established in 1948.

They number around 1.8 million, nearly 20 percent of Israel’s population.

Since a wave of violence erupted in October 2015, more than 290 Palestinians and 47 Israelis have been killed, according to a toll by the AFP news agency.