UK gov’t grants Arab-Israeli asylum on ‘apartheid’ grounds

According to British media reports, Hasan has lived most of his life in the UK.

By Debbie Weiss, The Algemeiner

In a landmark case supported by pro-Hamas advocates, the British government has granted asylum to an Arab citizen of Israel based on the “well-founded fear” that he could face persecution at home due to his religion and views on the Israeli government, which he claims maintains an “apartheid system.”

Franck Magennis, the main lawyer representing the 24-year-old man, identified only as “Hasan,” hailed the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel as a “victory.”

Hasan was unexpectedly granted refugee status by the Home Office, only 24 hours before a scheduled tribunal hearing on his previously rejected asylum petition was set to take place.

Hasan said the ruling marked “a victory not only for me but for all Palestinians living under the Israeli apartheid regime.”

According to British media reports, Hasan has lived most of his life in the UK.

“Without having to go to court, the British government has now accepted that the Palestinian struggle for freedom should not be limited only to Gaza and the West Bank but to all parts of historical Palestine under Israeli rule,” he added.

“I want to express a huge thank you to all those who supported my case. Without your help, I could not have reached this point.”

Israel firmly rejects the “apartheid” label. Approximately 20 percent of Israel’s population is Arab.

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Arab Israelis hold the highest positions of power in Israel’s legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

An Arab Muslim currently serves as a Supreme Court justice, and the last coalition government included Ra’am, an Arab Islamist party.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed that no Israeli would ever be permitted to live in a future Palestinian state, and leaders of Hamas, which rules Gaza, have said they seek to destroy Israel.

Nonetheless, Hasan’s lawyers had intended to argue that he would be at risk in Israel due to his participation in pro-Palestinian protests in the UK.

They also aimed to claim that Israel “is governed by an apartheid regime that engages in systematic and pervasive discrimination, persecution, and violence touching on all aspects of Palestinian life.”

Magennis, the barrister representing Hasan, said the move marks a striking rebuke of the British government’s long-standing ally.

Magennis’ legal team believes the Home Office’s asylum approval could set a far-reaching precedent in Britain and beyond, and may pave the way for more Israeli Arabs to successfully claim refugee status based on alleged persecution in their home country.

“What’s so shocking about this case is that Israel is normally considered a staunch ally of the UK government, and that the UK considers it the only democracy in the Middle East and in no way an apartheid regime. But what this reflects is a staggering contradiction in the heart of British foreign policy,” said Magennis.

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As early as Oct. 7, Magennis posted “victory to the Intifada” on social media, according to the UK lawyers for Israel group which submitted a criminal complaint against Magennis in November.

Magennis also published an image of a bulldozer breaking through the Erez crossing between Israel and Gaza and changed his status to “Free Palestine.”

Another lawyer for Hassan, Taher Golhussain, said: “While the world rightly focuses on the Israeli genocide in Gaza, it is important to understand that by virtue of being an apartheid state, Israel’s oppression extends to every Palestinian under its control and authority, whether they are in Gaza, the West Bank, or even within what is considered the borders of Israel itself. Therefore we welcome the decision of the Home Office to grant asylum to our client in recognition of this basic fact.”

Critics have lambasted the British government for its decision in part for being inconsistent on the issue of asylum from Israel, citing the case of Tamar S.

On Oct. 9, Tamar, a dual British-Israeli resident of the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod, applied for asylum status in the UK for her family on terror-related grounds.

In her application, Tamar noted that she was afraid for her life and that of her children following the Hamas-led attack two days earlier, after thousands of Palestinian terrorists stormed Israel killing more than 1,200 people and abducting 253.

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Tamar, who declined to give her full last name, noted that many of the terrorists were still on the loose in Israeli territory.

In her petition, she included her fear that her hometown would once again become the scene of bloody riots, like those that erupted in Israel’s mixed cities in May 2021 during clashes with Hamas in Gaza. Nevertheless, Tamar’s application was rejected.

As an asylum seeker, Tamar would have been eligible for housing and more than $1,000 per month for herself, her partner, and her two young children.

“It’s a disgrace that I, as a British citizen, was rejected from refuge in the UK while terrorists were slaughtering Israelis,” Tamar told The Algemeiner.

While some Palestinians from Gaza have been granted asylum in Britain before, Magennis said he could find no precedent for an Israeli citizen receiving such protection based on their ethnicity and political views.

The Home Office did not provide justification for the sudden overturn of the ruling, stating only:

“All asylum claims are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with the immigration rules. Where more information is provided or becomes available, the outcome of a decision can change.”