Gays Under Occupation: Help Save the Life of Fuad Moussa
November 26, 2003
By Neve Gordon
The police officer shoved the Palestinian into the patrol
car. “This time,” he said, “we are going to take care of you; I will
personally make sure that you are sent back to where you came from.”
For Fuad Moussa, a 27-year-old gay man who grew up in
Ramallah, these words amounted to a death sentence.
Fuad is in imminent danger due to two “crimes”: in
Palestine he is persecuted due to his sexual orientation, and in Israel he is
persecuted because he chose to live in Jerusalem with his Jewish partner,
Ezra, even though he does not have a permit to be in Israel.
The two men met eight years ago, and for the past four
have been sharing an apartment in a middleclass Jerusalem neighborhood; they
work together in Ezra’s plumbing business. Their life was uneventful until
the outbreak of the second Intifada in September 2000, when tens of thousands
of Palestinian laborers had their entry permits into Israel revoked. Overnight
Fuad’s life turned into a nightmare.
The Israeli police began profiling Palestinians, and on
numerous occasions they caught Fuad, detained him and even deported him to the
Even though Fuad cannot stay in Israel according to
Israeli law, going back to live in Ramallah is no longer an option; some of
his fundamentalist Muslim relatives have stated in unequivocal terms that if
he were to return they would kill him. This is their way of coping with the
idea that their cousin is a homosexual.
The police, who are well aware of these lethal
ramifications, have, nonetheless, refused to change their course of action.
With Ezra’s help, Fuad has managed to survive. Each
time he was caught and deported across the border, Ezra would drive to the
territories and smuggle him back the same night in the trunk of his car, which
attracts little suspicion at checkpoints due to its Israeli license plates.
All this has changed in the past month. For some reason
the police have decided to hunt the fugitive down and to put an end to the cat
and mouse chase.
Knowing where Ezra and Fuad live, they detained the
latter six times in a period of two weeks. Finally, during the last arrest,
the police brought him to court at night, and, in a swift legal procedure, a
judge ruled that he either be imprisoned or be deported immediately and
permanently to Ramallah.
As a result of an appeal that was submitted by Ezra the
following morning, the court put Fuad under house arrest for an indeterminate
period. While he is confined to their one bedroom apartment, for the time
being he is not in danger.
Fuad is surely not the only Palestinian who has a death
sentence hanging over his head due to his sexual orientation; there are other
young people who constantly have to hide, living in the shadows for fear of
being deported from Israel back to the occupied territories.
Fuad Moussa’s life, however, can be saved with some
public pressure. With one quick signature, the Israeli Interior Minister
Avraham Poraz, a self-proclaimed liberal, can grant Fuad a Jerusalem residency
card, which would allow him to legally remain in the city. Israel’s
President Moshe Katzav can also ensure that such a card be issued.
Will Fuad spend the rest of his life in the shadows for
fear of death, or will the Israeli authorities allow him to live with his
partner Ezra? Your letter may help determine this question.
Write immediately—mentioning Fuad Moussa id
Interior Minister Avraham Poraz email: firstname.lastname@example.org,
(send to all three) or fax +972-2-5666376
President Moshe Katzav email: email@example.com,
firstname.lastname@example.org (send to
both) fax +972-2-5671314
Please make sure to send copies to: email@example.com
by bccing the emails.
Neve Gordon teaches politics and human rights at Ben-Gurion
University and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Update on Fuad Moussa Case and Response from Interior Ministry of Israel
December 7, 2003
By Neve Gordon
Hundreds of letters have been sent by readers of
CounterPunch to the Interior Minister and President calling on them to grant
Fuad a Jerusalem residency card. From a phone conversation with the Interior
Minister’s Office it appears as if the minister is in the process of
reconsidering his original decision. This is precisely the time to increase
the email campaign. Please read the original article and send a letter if you
have not already done so. Also forward the original article to friends.
Simultaneously, Israel’s President has been sending the
following response to all those who sent email. We are posting after it a
response from one of Fuad and Ezra’s supporters, which, we think, is the
kind of response the President should receive. Finally, Fuad and Ezra want to
thank all the people that took the time to fax and email letters.
Letter from the President:
Dear Sir, We are writing to you in reply to your letter
to the President of Israel, Mr. Moshe Katsav with regard to Mr. Fuad Mussa.
From our enquiry of the Israeli Police, we obtained the following information:
Mr. Fuad Mussa stayed illegally in Israel, not having
receiving a permit neither from the Ministry of the Interior, nor from the
Commander of the Region and, therefore, the Police is entitled to demand his
extradition from Israel.
On the 6th November 2003, Mr. Fuad Mussa was brought to
the Magistrates Court which discharged him on condition, among other
undertakings, that he would not enter Israel illegally.
He appealed to the District Court. The District Court, in
its decision, of the 19th November, 2003, accepted the appeal in part and
instructed that he be under full house arrest in the home of his life partner,
Mr. Yitzhak Ezra. In addition the court permitted Mr. Fuad Mussa to go to work
between 8:00 and 18:00.
The Israeli Police also informed us that, until the end
of the judicial proceedings against Mr Fuad Mussa in the file regarding the
conditions of his release and/or any other judicial decision and on condition
that he fullfil the conditions of release, the Police will not arrest him for
Yours sincerely, Miriam Yosef Assistant to the Advisor on
Welfare and Social Affairs
This is the Response of one of the supporters to the
Thank you for your prompt response. You omitted in your
response a small detail, which was at the very center of my protest. Fuad
Moussa is homosexual. Further he has a Jewish Israeli civil law husband. In
addition, being a homosexual, Fuad’s life is threatened if he is deported.
Because Fuad is not the only homosexual Palestinain refugee in Israel, I
addressed the issue of what your policy is in this group of cases.
The case stands at the crossroads of the denial of civil
rights to homosexuals, the discrimination of Arabs and the ban of mixed
marriages in this country as well as the hunt on homosexuals in the
Palestinian territories under Israeli military rule. Your response—just as
the police proceedings you cite from -ignore all these dimensions essential to
the understanding of this case and similar cases. This ignorance is the very
reason why I wrote my letter.
I request another response of you that addresses my
concern in the full as I have described it here and in my former letter. If
you should not be capable of addressing my concern, I suggest you pass both my
letters to your superior.
Neve Gordon teaches human rights in the department of
Politics and Government at Ben-Gurion University, Israel, and can be reached
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