Israel has stripped 15,000 Palestinians of their right to live in Jerusalem since 1967

Human Rights Watch warned Israel this could amount to a war crime

epa06108357 A view on the Haram el-Sherif (Noble Sanctuary), or The Temple Mount to Jews, in the Old City of Jerusalem, 25 July 2017. During the night police removed the controversial metal detectors that were placed in the wake of a shooting of two Israeli police officers at this popular entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, amid a diplomatic easing of recent tensions. The mufti of Jerusalem called on Muslims not to enter and  pray at the  Al-Aqsa Mosque, even though Israel had been dismantled metal detectors  EPA/ABIR SULTAN
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Israel has stripped nearly 15,000 Palestinians from Jerusalem of their right to live in the city since 1967, Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday, warning Israel it could be a "war crime."

"Israel claims to treat Jerusalem as a unified city, but the reality is effectively one set of rules for Jews and another for Palestinians," Sarah Leah Whitson, the rights group's Middle East director, said in a report.

Israel occupied east Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War in a move never recognised by the international community.

The more than 300,000 Palestinians living there have permanent residency status but are not Israeli nationals.

While east Jerusalem residents are allowed to apply for citizenship, most do not as they view it as recognition of Israeli sovereignty.

Since 1967, 14,595 Palestinians have had their residence status revoked, effectively barring them from remaining in the city of their birth, the Human Rights Watch report said, citing Israeli interior ministry figures.

The majority of these revocations were due to spending periods of time out of the city, with Israel arguing their "centre of life" was not in Jerusalem.

"Residency revocations often effectively force Palestinians from east Jerusalem, who are protected by virtue of Israel's occupation under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to leave the territory they live in," Human Rights Watch said.

"Deportation or forced transfers of any part of the population of an occupied territory could amount to war crimes."

The Israeli interior ministry spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The report comes two days after an Israeli court decided to strip a Palestinian of his Israeli citizenship after he was convicted of carrying out an attack.

Alla Zayud was convicted on four counts of attempted murder after driving a car into Israeli soldiers and stabbing civilians in October 2015. He was sentenced to 25 years in jail.

Adalah, an Arabi Israeli rights group, said it was the first ruling of its kind.

Omar Shakir, Human Rights Watch's director for Israel and the Palestinian territories, said the decision to revoke Zayud's nationality "would render him stateless, in violation of Israel's obligations under international human rights law".