Israeli Court For First Time Revokes Citizenship of Convicted Arab Terrorist

P is for Palestine
ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty
DEBORAH DANAN

TEL AVIV – For the first time, an Israeli court on Sunday revoked the citizenship of an Arab Israeli terrorist convicted of a 2015 stabbing and car-ramming attack that seriously wounded four people. 

In accordance with a recommendation earlier this year from Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, the Haifa Magistrate’s Court ruled to strip Alaa Raed Ahmad Zayoud of his Israeli citizenship over the terror charges.

Zayoud was convicted of four counts of attempted murder after he stabbed and ran over four people – including two soldiers and a 15-year-old girl – at the start of the latest wave of Palestinian violence in October 2015.

The court ruled that after Zayoud completes his 25-year sentence, he will be given temporary resident status with the possibility of an extension by the interior minister.

Deri said the attack was a “manifest violation of faithfulness to the State of Israel” and that Zayoud had abused his citizenship rights.

Presiding judge Abraham Elyakim said the revocation was “a proper and proportionate step.”

“Every citizen has duties alongside his or her rights, which they must fulfill,” Elyakim said. “One significant and meaningful duty is loyalty to the state, which includes the duty not to carry out terrorist activities that harm its safety and that of its residents.”

The judge added: “Whoever decides to carry out terror attacks against the state and its subjects excludes themselves from the populace. Zayoud abused his freedom of movement to harm the security of the state and the well-being of its residents in favor of taking lives and subjecting the state to an atmosphere of terror.”

The NGO Adalah, which advocates for the rights of Israel’s Arab minority, said the ruling set a “dangerous precedent” and was “arbitrary, humiliating and connected to foreign considerations.”

“Alaa Zayoud will be left stateless, in contravention of international law,” Adalah said in a statement.

Together with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Adalah noted last year in a joint statement that Israel’s High Court refused to consider stripping former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin’s killer of his citizenship.

“Even in the most grave case of murdering the prime minister, the High Court rejected a petition to revoke the citizenship of the murderer, Yigal Amir, in the name of defending the rights of a citizen,” the NGOs said.

However, Deri contended that Sunday’s ruling will help prevent future attacks by Arab terrorists, Channel 2 reported.

“The court decision strengthens the deterrent and strengthens our campaign to protect the security of the country,” Deri said in a statement. “The decision states unequivocally that anyone who harms the state or its citizens can’t be a part of it.”

Zayoud told investigators he wished to commit suicide and become a martyr by killing Jews.

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