Recently, attacker Alaa Raed Ahmad Zayoud was charged with four attempts of murder after ramming an Israeli soldier with his car and stabbing three others, inflicting non-life-threatening wounds. During trial at the Haifa Magistrate’s Court, Zayoud’s Israeli citizenship was taken away. According to Judge Elyakim, a persons’ natural right to life outweighs the rights of a man who chooses to violate the trust of Israel.
This recent decision to revoke Zayoud’s citizenship has come under fire from many Israeli civil rights groups. The actual request of the sentence came from Interior Minister Arieh Deri, who had filed to revoke Zayoud’s citizenship back in 2016. Zayoud is also serving a 25-year sentence for his attacks.
Zayoud admitted to interrogators that his attack was nationalistically motivated, or–in law enforcement terms–a terrorist attack. This confession was a retraction from his initial claim that the attack was an accident and that the stabbings were self-defense against attacking onlookers. In Zayoud’s testimony, he told interrogators that he was trying to kill himself by killing Jews.
The Israeli court claimed that an Israeli citizen cannot be allowed to disrupt the lives of other citizens, and one who does so in the name of terror removes himself from the society of the country. Many civil rights groups are now condemning the state’s actions on Zayoud. Many of them say that revoking Zayoud’s citizenship renders him stateless, violating Israel’s obligations under international human rights law.
Other groups say that citizenship is required for many other rights, such as political participation and social-economic rights. Most removals of citizenship in the past had been due to terrorist-related issues, and these in themselves were rare prior to 2008 law.
A primary concern from rights groups is that this incident may pave way for many similar, unjust condemnations in the future. Some civil rights groups also speculate that this action was an attempt from the Israeli government to assert power, since their government is currently weak and unstable.