Amnesty International, yesterday, called upon Israeli authorities to grant Palestinian photojournalist Mustafa al-Kharouf, who is at imminent risk of deportation and being taken away from his wife and young child, permanent residency in East Jerusalem.

Al-Kharouf has been arbitrarily detained at Givon prison in Ramle, in central Israel, since January 22, 2019. His arrest came after the Israeli Ministry of Interior Affairs refused his application for family unification on alleged security grounds, and ordered his immediate deportation to Jordan, where he has no legal rights to reside and will remain stateless.

“The Israeli authorities’ decision to refuse Mustafa al-Kharouf’s residency application and deport him based on unfounded accusations is cruel and unlawful. He must be released immediately and granted permanent residency in East Jerusalem so he can resume his normal life with his wife and child,” said Saleh Hijazi, the Head of Amnesty International’s Jerusalem Office.

“The arbitrary detention and planned deportation of Mustafa al-Kharouf reflect Israel’s long-term policy to reduce the number of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, while denying them their human rights.”

While two Israeli courts have previously upheld his deportation decision, al-Kharouf’s lawyer has recently filed an appeal request to the Israeli Supreme Court in an attempt to reverse the decision. The Court has yet to decide whether to consider his appeal.

“Israeli authorities must adhere to their international obligations and ensure that Mustafa al-Kharouf can remain safely in his home by granting him a permanent residency status in East Jerusalem. The international community must act urgently to pressure the Israeli authorities to reverse its decision to deport him,’’  Said Saleh Hijazi.

Israel’s deportation of Mustafa al-Kharouf from the Occupied Palestinian Territories would constitute a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Between 1967 and end of 2018, Israel revoked the status of 14,643 Palestinians from East Jerusalem, according to Amnesty figures.

Mustafa al-Kharouf is a 32-year-old Palestinian photojournalist who was born to an Algerian mother and a Palestinian Jerusalemite father. He lives in occupied East Jerusalem with his wife Tamam al-Kharouf and 18-month-old daughter Asia. He had moved to East Jerusalem with his family from Algeria when he was 12.