JERUSALEM (AFP) — Israel on Wednesday revoked the residency rights of the widow of a Palestinian who carried out a deadly attack on a Jerusalem synagogue, drawing condemnation from human rights groups.
The move came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced he would seek broad powers to rescind the residency and welfare rights of any Palestinian citizen of Israel or resident of annexed East Jerusalem if they or their relatives participated in unrest.
“I have ordered the cancellation of Nadia Abu Jamal’s permit to stay in Israel. Anyone who is involved in terror must take into account that there are likely to be implications for their family members too,” Israeli Interior Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement.
Cousins Uday and Ghassan Abu Jamal, from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabel Mukabir, killed five people at a synagogue on November 18 before being shot dead by police, in the city’s bloodiest attack in six years.
It was unclear from the statement whether Nadia was the widow of Uday or of Ghassan.
The statement said she had been granted East Jerusalem residency under a “family reunification” clause allowing residents of the occupied Palestinian territories to stay with spouses who hold either Israeli citizenship or permanent residency.
Palestinians in East Jerusalem have residency rights but not citizenship since Israel occupied the city in 1967, despite the fact that the vast majority are born and raised in the city and trace their heritage back generations.
Israel has introduced a series of measures against the families of Palestinians involved in attacks in Jerusalem, including demolition of their homes, 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,” spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli told AFP.
“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.
“Residency and social benefits … aren’t gifts or favors the authorities bestow and can then take away. They’re essential aspects of people’s existence,” Michaeli said.
On Sunday, Israel revoked the residency of a Palestinian convicted of driving a suicide bomber to a Tel Aviv nightclub where he killed 21 people in 2001.
Mahmud Nadi had served a 10 year prison sentence for his part in the bombing.