16 March, 2003 -
The Knesset, Jerusalem
From: The Israeli Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Association
Re: Prevention of Deportation and Danger of Execution
We wish to congratulate you on the occasion of your entry into office.
The Urgency of This Matter: On 6 March, Mr. Kamar Yusuf and Mr. Osama Abu Shahid , two Palestinian homosexuals tried for being in Israel illegally, were deported to the Palestinian Authority. Since their deportation, the Aguda have not been able to contact them through any means. A similar fate awaits another Palestinian, who is currently in jail waiting for his trial on the same charge. He is also expected to be deported after his time in jail finishes. Due to the urgency of this matter, we would ask that your Excellency exercise his jurisdiction under the Entry into Israel Law, 5712-1952, and grant temporary residency visas to this young man under the discretion that the law affords your Excellency.
Deporting would be an immoral act. So hasty an act as this would cause grievous harm to the values that the State of Israel holds so dear, and to the image of our country in the eyes of human rights organizations, public opinion, and international legal and political bodies. Many international bodies and organizations have begun writing to the Aguda to find out about this matter, and we are certain that the issue will give rise to a renewed frontal attack against the policies of the State of Israel.
Brief Background – Homosexuals in the Palestinian Authority, mostly minors and youths, suffer persecution, arrest, injury and torture - at times ending in death – at the hands of the authorities, and many of them will likely be executed.
After their identity and their pasts are vetted carefully, a small number of them are given certificates from the Aguda which ask that the authorities and security forces in Israel take their situation into consideration. At the same time, we are acting to allow them to take refuge in other Western countries (an international procedure which takes about a year and a half). Despite the difficult security situation, the authorities in Israel have shown an exemplary level of mercy and humanity by not arresting and deporting these people. A month ago, this policy was changed, and the youths were arrested and brought to trial, and the automatic process of deporting them to the Palestinian Authority began. As we said above, for most of these, this means leaving them to be killed.
We ask that your Excellency freeze the deportation proceedings of these three youths immediately, under the powers granted to the Minister of the Interior under law. We would ask to meet with you as soon as possible in order to discuss this grave topic and to come up with a comprehensive, humane solution to this problem, which is the fate of a small number of other homosexuals.
Lior Mencher, Shaul Gonen,