Israel has granted an as-yet unidentified gay Palestinian man, in his 20s, a temporary reprieve from being deported across the border. But is it because he’s a sexual refugee? Or because, he claims, he worked with Israeli authorities against the Palestinian Authority?
Although some in Palestine would have you believe the state is gay-friendlier than its Israeli neighbor, “morally degenerate” is how PA officials have come to describe the gays, just like drug addicts and prostitutes. Which is the latest reason why the man sought, and thus far has received, asylum from the High Court of Justice. But is this a case about a man being persecuted by the PA because he’s gay, or a gay man who happens to be persecuted?
A native of Nablus, he fled his home at 12 and came to Israel as a result of violence and abuse at the hands of his father. At one point he worked as a male prostitute in Tel Aviv’s Gan Hahashmal. Six months after living in Israel, he returned to his family in Nablus.
In the PA he was arrested by Palestinian intelligence who suspected him of collaborating with Israeli security forces. He says that he was jailed, tortured and abused until he was forced to admit such collaboration.
Following his forced confession he was jailed at a facility near the Muqata’a for what he says was two years, waiting for a death sentence to be carried out for alleged treason.
The young Palestinian petitioned the High Court through attorney Yohanna Lerman, a public defender, said that during IDF operations he managed to escape and was asked to identify those who jailed and abused him openly, exposing his own identity.
Following his exposure to the Palestinians as appearing to “collaborate” with Israeli forces, he was granted temporary permits to stay in Israel by the Shin Bet.
During his stay in Israel the young Palestinian was arrested and jailed for his involvement in acts of violence and theft.
Worth noting: Israel’s officials didn’t want to grant him asylum. Something about setting precedent for the undeserving.
The committee evaluating the degree to which Palestinians are at risk for alleged collaboration with Israel decided in November that the young man was not at risk. The committee also said that he failed to meet his commitment to avoid illegal activities, which in turn threatens public safety.
The state argued in response to the High Court petition that many Palestinians who have claimed similar risk to their lives for collaboration are actually threatened because Palestinian society considers their behavior to be “morally degenerate.”
“This unfortunate fact cannot impose on the State of Israel the legal responsibility to allow every Palestinian from such groups to live in its territory,” the state attorney’s office wrote.