Palestinian citizen of Israel granted asylum in UK Home Office U-turn

Palestinian citizen of Israel granted asylum in UK Home Office U-turn

Robert -

A Palestinian citizen of Israel is to be granted asylum in the UK on the basis that he has a well-founded fear of persecution if returned to Israel.

The decision in respect of the 24-year-old, dubbed ‘Hasan’ by his lawyers as his real identity cannot be disclosed for his own protection, came less than 24 hours before a tribunal hearing where the Home Office was to defend its original decision to refuse the claim.

In documents filed with the immigration tribunal, Hasan claimed that Israel maintains an apartheid system of racial domination of its Jewish citizens over its Palestinian citizens, whom it systematically oppresses.

He had also provided evidence to the tribunal that he is at enhanced risk of persecution because of his Palestinian solidarity activism in the UK and his anti-Zionist political opinions.

Hasan’s case is based in part on multiple reports by experts and NGOs published in recent years, which conclude that Israel imposes a system of oppression and domination against Palestinians across all areas under its control which amounts to the international crime of apartheid.

His case also relies on the International Court of Justice’s recent interim judgment in the case of South Africa v Israel, in which the court referred to the openly genocidal rhetoric of Israel’s most senior statespeople, including its president Isaac Herzog.

Hasan’s lawyers say the Home Office’s decision to grant asylum could have widespread ramifications for other Palestinians who claim asylum in the UK and elsewhere.

The case is based on the 1951 Refugee Convention, which is binding on all states, and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which binds 46 members states.

In principle, Palestinians who claim asylum in other jurisdictions around the world can point to this concession by the UK Home Office in support of their own claims for protection from Israeli apartheid.

Taher Gulamhussein, Hasan’s solicitor, said: “While the world is rightfully focussed on the Israeli genocide in Gaza, it is critical to understand that by virtue of its being an apartheid state, Israel’s oppression extends to any Palestinians under its control and authority, whether that be in Gaza, the West Bank or even within what is considered to be Israel’s own borders.

“We therefore welcome the Home Office’s decision to grant asylum to our client in recognition of that fundamental fact.”

Franck Magennis, Hasan’s barrister, said: “It is now completely beyond any reasonable doubt that Israel is governed by an apartheid regime, one whose animating ideology is Zionism. That regime views Palestinians as a demographic threat to the racial purity of a so-called ‘Jewish state’.

“We hope that this decision marks a turning point in Home Office thinking, and call on governments and courts worldwide to recognise the violent anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic racism at the heart of the Israeli government.”

In a statement, Hasan said: “This is a victory not just for me but for all Palestinians living under the apartheid Israeli regime. Without even having to step into court, the UK government has now accepted that the Palestinian struggle for freedom should not just be limited to Gaza and the West Bank but to all parts of historic Palestine under Israeli rule.

“I wish to extend a huge thank you to all those who have supported my case. Without your help, I could not have reached this point.”

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