UK grants asylum to Palestinian citizen of Israel, citing persecution concerns upon return

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Public TV English
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LONDON: The United Kingdom granted asylum to a Palestinian, who also held residentship of Israel, saying he would likely be persecuted if he returned, Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday.

Arguing for permanent asylum for the Palestinian, identified as Hassan, his lawyers told an immigration tribunal that he faced an “enhanced risk of persecution” in Israel, given his Palestinian ethnicity, Muslim faith, anti-Zionist beliefs and history of pro-Palestinian activism in the UK.

Hasan, who has lived in the UK for most of his life — more than 20 years, according to his lawyers, first sought asylum in the country in 2019. The decision for his case was initially delayed, possibly because of the coronavirus pandemic and successive lockdowns, his lawyers said, according to Al Jazeera.

In 2022, the Home Office in the UK rejected Hasan’s claim that he faced the risk of persecution in Israel. Hasan’s legal team moved the immigration tribunal challenging the Home Office ruling, after October 7, when Hamas terrorists unleashed terror in southern Israel, citing updated evidence.

Hassan, through his lawyers, stated that he felt ‘relieved’ at being granted permanent residentship, revealing that he battled depression as faced stringent curbs under a UK law that prohibits asylum seekers from working, even voluntarily.

“I have been left in limbo for so many years while my claim was being processed, prohibited from working, renting a property, travelling, buying a car, or being able to live my life in any meaningful way,” Hasan submitted in court through his lawyers, adding, “The world moved on, while I remained behind”.

While saying that he feels ‘reassured’ after being granted the status of a permanent resident, he does worry for his loved ones back in Israel, citing “regular incidents of low-level violence and aggression” in Gaza. The report stated that the decision on Monday to grant asylum to the Palestine-born Israel resident could set a precedent for fellow Palestinian citizens in the country who aspire for permanent residentship in Britain, and elsewhere.

Under the 1951 Refugee Convention, which is binding on all states, a refugee should not be returned to a country where they “face serious threats to their life or freedom”, according to the UNHCR. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), an international human rights treaty, also protects the rights of people within the 46 member states who have signed up to it, including the UK.

“It’s completely unprecedented,” said Franck Magennis, a barrister representing Hasan. “In principle, any Palestinian finding themselves in any one of those 46 states can say, ‘If you return me to any territory under Israel’s jurisdiction, there’s a real risk that my human rights will be breached’,” he added. (ANI)

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