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UK Home Office grants asylum to Palestinian citizen of Israel over his fear of persecution

The 24-year-old Palestinian describes Israel as having an 'apartheid' system and says he fears for his safety there because of his activism
Rights groups have warned that Palestinians in Israel have faced a crackdown since the 7 October attacks (Reuters)

The UK Home Office has granted a Palestinian citizen of Israel asylum after his lawyers argued he faced persecution in the state as a result of its government’s “apartheid-like policies”.

The 24-year-old Palestinian student, who was identified as Hasan in court papers for safety reasons, has lived in Britain for several years.

He said he is at risk of persecution in Israel because he actively campaigns for the Palestinian cause in Britain.

The ministry unexpectedly decided to grant Hasan asylum on Monday, a day before his legal team was due to argue in court that Palestinian citizens of Israel faced persecution for speaking out against the country. 

Officials had previously rejected Hasan's claim for asylum, and if the case had proceeded, the government's lawyers would have had to argue that Hasan would not face persecution in Israel for his political activities in Britain. 

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Describing the decision as “unprecedented” and “seismic”, Hasan’s lawyers, from Riverway Law, said the decision could have “widespread ramifications for other Palestinians who claim asylum in Britain and elsewhere".

“Our client claimed that the Israeli government maintains an 'apartheid' system of racial domination over its Palestinian citizens, whom it systematically oppresses,” Riverway Law said in a statement. 

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“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.”

Riverway Law added that it used multiple reports by experts, NGOs and the International Court of Justice's recent interim judgment in the case of South Africa v Israel to defend Hasan. 

Representatives submitted an additional claim, noting that the situation for Palestinians living in Israel has worsened since the 7 October attacks by Hamas-led Palestinian fighters. 

The decision to grant Hasan asylum comes as Israel continues to bombard the Gaza Strip in a military campaign that has killed 31,000 Palestinians in the besieged enclave. 

The Home Office did not respond to a request for comment at the time of writing. 

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