Last Monday the Home Office dropped its plans to contest the claim of an asylum seeker on the eve of his tribunal hearing. Hasan (not his real name – to protect himself and his family from reprisals) said that his life would be in danger if he returned to his home country.

His reason is that he is a Muslim, a Palestinian, and a citizen of Israel who has campaigned against the apartheid nature of the Israeli state. He is an anti-Zionist who has been active in the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK. Given all the fuss about the government redefining extremism to demonise Muslim organisations and campaigns that support Palestine and call for a ceasefire in Gaza, this should have been headline news — but all of the broadcast media and most of the print media studiously ignored it.

In a press release, his barrister, Garden Court Chambers, state that, “A 24-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel is to be granted asylum by the Home Office on the basis that he has a well-founded fear of persecution if returned to Israel. The decision came less than 24 hours before a tribunal hearing at which the Home Office was to defend its original decision to refuse the claim.”

In effect, the Home office have accepted his claim, “that Israel maintains an ‘apartheid’ system of racial domination of its Jewish citizens over its Palestinian citizens, whom it systematically oppresses. He had also provided evidence to the tribunal that he is at enhanced risk of persecution because of his Palestinian solidarity activism in the UK and his anti-Zionist political opinions.”

Hasan’s case cited the interim judgement by the International Court of Justice ordering Israel to implement provisional measures to demonstrate that it is not engaged in genocide in Gaza, as well as the evidence from NGOs and experts who have published reports concluding Israel is an apartheid state:

  • UN EWSCA
  • B’tselem
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Amnesty International
  • Al Haq

Taher Gulamhussein, Hasan’s solicitor, said:

“While the world is rightfully focussed on the Israeli genocide in Gaza, it is critical to understand that by virtue of its being an apartheid state, Israel’s oppression extends to any Palestinians under its control and authority, whether that be in Gaza, the West Bank or even within what is considered to be Israel’s own borders. We therefore welcome the Home Office’s decision to grant asylum to our client in recognition of that fundamental fact.” 

Franck Magennis, Hasan’s barrister, said:

“It is now completely beyond any reasonable doubt that Israel is governed by an apartheid regime, one whose animating ideology is Zionism. That regime views Palestinians as a demographic threat to the racial purity of a so-called ‘Jewish state’. We hope that this decision marks a turning point in Home Office thinking, and call on governments and courts worldwide to recognise the violent anti-Palestinian and Islamophobic racism at the heart of the Israeli government.” 

Hasan said:

“This is a victory not just for me but for all Palestinians living under the apartheid Israeli regime. Without even having to step into court, the UK government has now accepted that the Palestinian struggle for freedom should not just be limited to Gaza and the West Bank but to all parts of historic Palestine under Israeli rule. I wish to extend a huge thank you to all those who have supported my case. Without your help, I could not have reached this point.” 

Hasan has won. He still faces a hefty legal bill. You can help him here.

UPDATE:

Hasan’s fears of persecution are totally justified. Last Saturday at the Berlin Film Festival, Yuval Abraham, a Jewish Israeli film maker, accepted an award for his documentary, “No Other Land” about the illegal settlement of the West Bank and the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes. In his speech he condemned Israeli apartheid and had to cancel his flight home after death threats from inside Israel when an angry mob attacked his family home. His co-director, the Palestinian Basel Adra, has returned to his home in the occupied West Bank, and there are worries about his safety.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *