AMMAN: Two attempts by Israel to deport a stateless Jerusalem dad to Jordan have been condemned as “illegal and immoral. ”Israeli officials were twice turned back from Jordanian border crossings within the space of 16 hours after trying to banish news photographer Mustafa Kharouf.
The married father-of-one, who was born in the Algerian capital Algiers but has lived in Jerusalem all his life, was driven to separate border checkpoints on Sunday night and Monday morning only to be turned away.
Kharouf has been separated from his family since being arrested by Israeli immigration authorities more than six months ago. The deportation attempts came after lawyers had exhausted efforts to block his expulsion from the city.
Adi Lustigman, representing Kharouf on behalf of Israel-based human rights organization HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual, told Arab News that the Israeli actions were “both illegal and immoral.”
The lawyer said that Kharouf had been moved to Jerusalem as a baby and was a photographer working for the Turkish Anadolu News Agency. She added: “He has no legal status in Jordan, and no connection to the country in which he spent just a few hours as a child, when he passed through it to enter Israel.
“His parents, brothers and sisters live in Jerusalem. His wife and his two-year-old daughter, from whom he has been separated for over six months due to his arrest by the Israeli immigration authorities, live in Jerusalem. His home is Jerusalem.”
The drama began at 9 p.m. on Sunday when an Israeli police car drove Kharouf from Ramleh prison to the King Hussein Bridge near Jericho.
Col. Rafaat Matarneh told Arab News that Jordanian border guards refused to allow Kharouf entry to the country without appropriate documentation.
Raja’a Khatib, a journalist colleague, said that after three hours of attempts to convince the Jordanians to take Kharouf the Israelis gave up and left, only to try again on Monday morning by driving him south to the Wadi Araba crossing. But the Jordanians refused his entry a second time.
Lustigman said: “Israel’s failed attempt to deport Kharouf to Jordan strengthens our claim that there is no place for him to go other than back to his home in Jerusalem. We urge Israel to find a humane solution for him and his family.”