Illegal at home: The story of Daoud al-Ghoul

Middle East Eye, 16 December 2014

Local groups say Israel's deportations of Palestinian Jerusalemites are 'unjust, illegal and inhumane' (AFP)
Local groups say Israel's deportations of Palestinian Jerusalemites are 'unjust, illegal and inhumane' (AFP)

On Sunday 30 November, 31-year-old Daoud al-Ghoul was called to the police station in the Old City of Jerusalem. The reason, he was to discover, was to receive an order expelling him from the city for six months. On the basis of a secret file that said he was a danger to public security, he was told, Daoud was suddenly illegally present in the city he’d called home for his whole life.

A few days later, al-Ghoul was banished from the West Bank on the basis of similarly opaque evidence. Now he and his lawyers are appealing the case against him, despite the fact that they know little to nothing of what he is supposed to be guilty of in the first place.

“On a personal level, I am out of my work, I’m out of my home, I’m away from my family and social life,” al-Ghoul, who was only able to speak to journalists by phone this week, told Middle East Eye. “And there is the possibility now that I will be deported to a place I don’t know at all, where I will have to find a new work, new social life, new everything.”

“We don’t even know if it will end after six months,” al-Ghoul continued. “There is a chance it will be renewed, as it is with the administrative detention orders. You just don’t know. You have no idea about your future, and what will happen to you.”

A 31-year-old activist from Silwan in central Jerusalem, al-Ghoul was one of four Palestinians expelled from Jerusalem under similar circumstances last month. Majd Darwish, Saleh Dirbas and Fares Abu Ghanem also received expulsion orders on 30 November, although unlike al-Ghoul, they have been allowed to remain in the West Bank. As more information has emerged about the expulsion, lawyers and human rights groups have condemned the move, which they say is virtually unprecedented in the city.