On Sunday, 6 August, an Israeli court in Haifa revoked the citizenship of Palestinian citizen of Israel, Alaa Zayoud, 23, from Umm al-Fahm. Zayoud, 23, was born in Umm al-Fahm to a mother who is also a Palestinian citizen of Israel; he has no other citizenship and this court order functions so as to render him stateless.

He is serving a 25-year sentence in Israeli prisons, accused of hitting two Israeli soldiers with his car near Hadera and stabbing two more Israelis. Sawsan Zaher of Adalah is part of the legal team fighting the confiscation of Zayoud’s citizenship. Maan News quoted Zaher, saying: “Jewish Israelis have also committed similar acts. But no one demands that their citizenship be revoked,” Zaher added. “This decision sets a precedent that (Israeli) courts can revoke the citizenship of any Arab who commits a criminal act.” The revocation is set to go into effect in October.

This action was pursued by ultra-right Zionist Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, on the basis of “breach of loyalty” to the state. Zaher told Ma’an that the last time such an act was considered was in 1995, when right-wing Jewish Israeli Yigal Amir assassinated Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The Supreme Court ruled against such an action at the time.  Zaher noted that Adalah would be carrying the legal struggle forward at all levels and that the action was a clear breach of international law by rendering Zayoud stateless.

The attack on Zayoud comes in the context of over 70 years of first martial law and then systematic racist discrimination and oppression against those Palestinians who remained on their land after the 1948 Nakba, in which over 700,000 Palestinians were rendered stateless by Zionist forces who expelled them from their homes and lands. Today, millions of Palestinian refugees continue to be denied their right to return to their homes and lands inside Palestine. It is also part of a systematic policy of exclusion and expulsion of Palestinians through land confiscation, isolation and the stripping of Jerusalem IDs and residency by the Israeli occupation state.