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Israeli police deliver residency revocation orders to family of Jerusalem attacker

Jan. 10, 2017 7:05 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 11, 2017 11:14 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces raided the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday to deliver warrants notifying relatives of the driver responsible for a deadly truck attack that their Jerusalem residency status would be punitively revoked, despite the family’s insistence they were not aware of plans for the attack.

Fadi al-Qunbar was shot dead by Israeli forces and armed civilians on Saturday after he drove into a group of Israeli soldiers in an illegal Israeli settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, killing four soldiers.

After reports emerged that Israel’s interior minister decided to revoke the Jerusalem residency status of 13 of al-Qunbar’s relatives, including his mother, Israeli police raided their homes to deliver the revocation orders to some of the relatives, locking the family inside one room throughout the raid.

Fadi’s mother, Minwa al-Qunbar, has held a Jerusalem ID for years after she was granted legal status under Israel’s Family Reunification Law.

Suha al-Qunbar’s Jerusalem residency was also ordered to be revoked, while Israeli authorities cancelled applications for her husband Murad Eqeisat and their two children, aged 11 and 17, to become residents under reunification.

Fadi al-Qunbar’s nephew 21-year-old Diyaa Uweisat was delivered a warrant notifying that his reunification application was cancelled.

al-Qunbar's sister-in-law Manal received an order cancelling her application to gain legal status in Jerusalem under reunification with her husband Sami al-Qunbar.

The family said that Israeli authorities summoned those mentioned above to appear at the headquarters of the Israeli Ministry of Interior on Wednesday.

Israeli police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld told Ma’an that “regular police activity” was underway in Jabal al-Mukabbir, and could not confirm further details.
Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli news site Ynet quoted Israel’s interior minister as saying the decision to revoke the al-Qunbar's residency "signals a new era against terrorism and terrorists who use their status to carry out attacks against citizens. From now on, there will be zero tolerance towards those who are involved in terrorism against Israel.”

While punitive residency revocation has never been implemented in this way before, more than 14,000 Jerusalem residencies for Palestinians have been revoked for other reasons since Israel illegally annexed East Jerusalem in 1967.

The beginning of a wave of political unrest in October 2015 was seized as an opportunity to set a new legal precedent for residence revocation, think tank al-Shabaka wrote in a report last year, after the Israeli Security Cabinet issued a decision to the effect that "the permanent residency rights of terrorists will be revoked," without defining who was a terrorist.

Al-Shabaka said at the time it was unknown how many Jerusalemite Palestinians had been affected by the new criterion, though a number of revocation orders were pending in Israeli courts.

The think tank said that “the Israeli government is describing these actions as regular law enforcement measures, but analysis shows that they are part of its ongoing policies of forced displacement, with the aim of making long term demographic changes and maintaining an overwhelming Jewish majority in Jerusalem.”

Israeli forces routinely ban Palestinians from Jerusalem for purported security reasons, as the some 3.5 million Palestinians residing in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip must rely on Israeli-issued permits to enter Jerusalem and Israel.

Israel’s permit regime has often split up Palestinian families when several members hold different residency statuses, a system which Palestinian nonprofit BADIL has said rests on “entirely arbitrary distinctions.”

The revocation of the Jerusalem residency of al-Qunbar’s relatives came as Israel has already ordered the immediate demolition of their home, while a number of his family members have been rounded up in Israeli detention centers.

Israeli leaders have also called for the family to be expelled to the besieged Gaza strip or exiled to war-torn Syria in the wake of the attack.

Israel has come under harsh condemnation over the past several years for its response to attacks committed by Palestinians on Israelis, which rights groups have said amounted to “collective punishment” and represents a clear violation of international law.
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