Palestinians, unlike Jews, living under Israeli military occupation in East Jerusalem have no citizenship rights. Instead, they hold permanent residence permits.
As if the discrimination wasn't bad enough, new legislation recently approved by the Knesset is going to make life even worse for nearly 420,000 Palestinians living in the embattled city with permanent residency status.
The new law permits "the minister of interior to revoke the residency rights of any Palestinian in Jerusalem on grounds of a 'breach of loyalty' to Israel," Al Jazeera reports.
In fact, Israel's Interior Minister Aryeh Deri could strip an individual of their residency if they committed "a criminal act" in the view of the Israeli government.
This could be problematic since the Israel's definition of "a criminal act" is fairly subjective when it comes to Palestinians.
For instance, the Israeli government regards even stone-throwing by Palestinian children as terrorism.
Predictably, the law has drawn accusations of racism from Palestinians.
"By unethically stripping the residency of Palestinians from Jerusalem and depriving the rights of those Palestinians to remain in their own city, the Israeli government is acting in defiance of international law and is violating international human rights and humanitarian laws," said Hanan Ashrawi, a senior member of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
In addition, Adalah, an Israel-based Palestinian rights group, pointed out the law is illegal under international humanitarian law.
"East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory under international humanitarian law (IHL) — like all other areas of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — and its Palestinian residents are a protected civilian population. It is therefore illegal under IHL to impose upon them an obligation of loyalty to the occupying power, let alone to deny them the permanent residency status on this basis," read the group's statement.
However, Israel's disregard for international law is well-documented and it's very likely the potentially illegal loyalty law will be implemented amid criticism.