For the first time in its history, Israel has stripped an Arab-Israeli of his citizenship stating that he “removed himself from society” by launching a car-and-knife rampage that left four people injured last year. The move was heavily criticised by human rights groups as the would set a dangerous precedent.
According to activists, the verdict which is believed to be a legal first, will leave Alaa Raed Ahmad Zayoud “stateless” and violation of international laws. But the judge said the move was a “suitable and proportional” response.
Zayoud had ploughed a car into a female Israeli soldier before stabbing three civilians, causing them light to moderate wounds, near Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, northeast of Hadera, in October 2015. He had been convicted on four counts of attempted murder and sentenced to a 25-year prison term in June last year.
“For every citizen, alongside his rights, there are commitments. One of them is the significant and important commitment to maintaining loyalty to the state, which is given expression also in the commitment to not carry out terror acts to harm its residents and their security,” Deputy President of the Haifa Magistrate’s Court Avraham Elyakim, justified the move.
The court was responding to a request from Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri. The judge expressed hope that the measure will dissuade potential future attacks on Israelis.
We cannot allow an Israeli citizen to impact the lives and dignity of other Israeli citizens and whoever decides to so in acts of terror, removes himself from the general society of the countryHaifa Magistrate’s Court
The decision was criticised by several activists Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine director Omar Shakir, who tweeted: “Israeli court today revoked citizenship for first time ever; Palestinian Alaa Zayoud left stateless, a violation of int’l human rights law.”
Adalah, a legal justice center protecting the rights of Palestinians, called Haifa’s court decision a “dangerous precedent.”
Zayoud would become stateless as neither the interior minister nor the attorney general provided an alternative citizenship status for him, in contrary to the requirements of international human rights law. this is the first time an Israeli court has ruled to revoke an individual’s citizenshipStatement by Adalah
“It is no coincidence that the concerned individual is an Arab citizen. 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,” attorneys Sawsan Zaher and Oded Feller said.
Zayoud's citizenship is set to be revoked in October, when he will be given temporary citizenship which can be extended at the discretion of the Interior Ministry when he completes his prison sentence.