IHRC is backing a new crowdfunding appeal for a Palestinian man to fight a deportation attempt that could force UK courts to identify Israel as an apartheid state.
The client, a Palestinian who cannot be identified for his own safety, came to the UK when he was just one and have lived here his entire life with his mother, two brothers and three sisters. He is now 23 years old. He considers himself to be British. He briefly returned to Israel once when he was 14 years old and witnessed first hand how Palestinians are denied freedom and equal rights in the apartheid state. For that short visit, the Home Office is trying to return him forever to Israel.
The client’s previous solicitors dropped the case because they were nervous that the client wanted to put the spotlight on Israeli apartheid as part of his asylum case. He has now instructed new lawyers who are willing to fight for him to stay in the UK with his family and who are willing to properly interrogate the Israeli regime and its human rights abuses in the Tribunal.
The client is now appealing the decision to refuse him asylum to the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber). He is arguing that he cannot be removed because he is a Palestinian and Palestinians must not be removed to Israel because they will suffer systematic domination and oppression in the form of apartheid.
Apartheid is a legal concept that was first applied to describe the systematic separation and divergent treatment of Black people as compared to white and south asian people in South Africa before the African National Congress (ANC) and Mandela came to power in 1994. Lawyers will argue that in Israel Jewish and non-Jewish people are systematically separated and treated differently. Just as we would not have forced a black person to live under South African apartheid before 1994, so it follows that no Palestinian should be forcibly removed to such an openly racist regime.
It is hoped that the case will not only let the client stay with his family in the UK but it will help all Palestinians seeking asylum in the UK. The case is hoping to prove the truth – that Israel’s apartheid regime systematically dominates and oppresses Palestinians because they are not Jewish. A number of human rights organisations – including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Al Haq, and Btselem have called out Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians labelling Israel’s conduct as apartheid. This criticism has been echoed by international organisations such as the UN Independent Commission of Enquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the UN Special Rapporteur on the Occupied Palestinian Territories Ms Francesca Albanese. However, UK courts and tribunals have so far been reluctant to make findings that acknowledge the existence and consequences of Israeli apartheid. This case promises to change that.
The Tribunal has asked for the client to set out his initial case by 14 April 2023. Funds are urgently required in order for the client’s lawyers to meet the deadline.
By paying towards this fundraiser and sharing this crowdfunding campaign with people who might support it, and by making your own financial contribution, you will be supporting not only the client, but all those who take a principled stand against racism and oppression. In 1994 apartheid ended in South Africa followed by Nelson Mandela being proclaimed President. In 1997 he made clear that Israeli apartheid was equally abhorrent when he said:
“The UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
People can donate to help fund the case here.