An Israeli court on Monday postponed the scheduled deportation of Mustafa Kharouf, an Anadolu Agency (AA) photojournalist, from the occupied West Bank to neighboring Jordan. An Algerian-born Palestinian, Kharouf, 32, was detained by Israeli police in January. He had been slated for deportation on May 5 in line with an Israeli court ruling. Kharouf was reportedly told on Sunday that he would be deported to Jordan the following day. But his lawyer, Adi Lustigman, from Israel's HaMoked Center for the Defense of the Individual, a rights advocacy group, filed a request with Israel's Supreme Court to postpone the scheduled deportation.
On the same day, the court ruled to freeze the deportation order until it had a chance to hear the lawyer's appeal. Because he was born in Algeria, Israeli prosecutors are calling for Kharouf's expulsion from the occupied West Bank to neighboring Jordan, despite the fact that his family hails from Jerusalem. For the last 20 years, the Israeli authorities have consistently refused to grant Kharouf a long-term residency permit, forcing him to obtain fresh tourist visas each year. In earlier remarks to AA, Lustigman said that his client had lived in the West Bank since he was 12 years old. He has lived in East Jerusalem for over 20 years, where he has a Palestinian mother and a Palestinian wife, and is not a citizen of any other country, the lawyer said.
While Kharouf holds a Jordanian passport that allows him to travel to neighboring Arab states, this does not give him citizenship or residency rights in Jordan. Since August of last year, Kharouf has worked for AA as a photographer.