TEL AVIV – The Israeli citizenship of a terrorist who rammed his car into soldiers before going on a stabbing spree may be revoked, the Interior Minister said Sunday.
Interior Minister Arye Dery wrote in a Facebook post that he had filed a petition in the Haifa District Court to begin the process of revoking the citizenship of Umm al-Fahm resident Ala’a Ziwad, who confessed to ramming his vehicle into the soldiers and stabbing two more people in October.
Two soldiers, a 19-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man, as well as a 14-year-old girl, were hospitalized with moderate to serious wounds, while a 45-year-old man was treated for light stab wounds.
In 2008, the Citizenship Law was amended to allow the interior minister to revoke the citizenship of terrorists – on condition that a court and the attorney general sign off on it. In this case, Dery said, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit had approved the request.
Ziwad’s mother is an Israeli citizen while his father is not. Dery said that the father’s residency permit would not be renewed.
“Revoking citizenship is a serious and rare step, but we must use a firm hand against anyone who harms the security of the state and its inhabitants,” he wrote.
Ziwad was charged with four counts of attempted murder and of the possession of a knife for racist purposes, Haaretz reported.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel and Adalah – the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel has lambasted Dery’s move, saying they would legally contest the request.
“Revocation of citizenship is an extreme act with very serious harm to human rights because it leaves a person without any rights that citizenship protects. Criminal proceedings are the way for a society to express its reservations from serious acts, and the issue of citizenship should not be involved in that,” the two organizations said in a joint statement.