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The State’s appeal is rejected: Court reaffirms that Palestinians married to Jerusalemites cannot be denied temporary residency due to a gap in continuity of family-unification stay permits

On June 29,2020, the Court for Administrative Affairs rejected the State’s appeal of the Appeal Tribunal’s ruling regarding a Palestinian man denied an upgrade from a stay permit to temporary residency status. The man has lived in Jerusalem for a quarter of a century with his wife and children, all of whom have Israeli permanent residency status.

The man met all the conditions for a status upgrade set in the Minister of Interior’s announcement of April 2016 – issued following HaMoked’s High Court petition (HCJ 813/14) – regarding the grant of temporary residency status to over 1,500 Palestinians living in Israel for years in the framework of the family unification procedure, with nothing but stay permits and without social security rights. The April 2016 announcement pertained to those who were already undergoing family unification when Israel enacted the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law of 2003, freezing such proceedings between Palestinians and Israelis.

However, on February 13, 2018, the Ministry of Interior refused to give the man temporary residency because in the past, between 2007 and 2013, he had been denied stay permits and so was turned into an illegal alien. This gap in continuous legal presence in Israel, the Ministry claimed, rendered him ineligible for temporary status pursuant to the April 2016 announcement. This, despite the fact that the gap in continuity was years before he filed the upgrade request, and stemmed from an indirect “security” preclusion relating to his brother, which was lifted once the Ministry of Interior enabled him to sign an undertaking not to maintain contact with that brother. The fact that this man had to continue living in his home with nothing but stay permits, clearly exemplified the Ministry of Interior’s persistent and discriminatory policy to do the utmost to avoid giving status – even a temporary one – to West Bank Palestinians married to Jerusalem Palestinians.

HaMoked filed an appeal on his behalf, and in three similar cases. In all four appeals, the Appeals Tribunal accepted HaMoked’s claim that the April 2016 announcement does not specifically require an uninterrupted sequence of stay permits and therefore the refusal was invalid. The Tribunal ruled that a past security preclusion does not constitute a relevant consideration in such cases and that the Ministry must re-evaluate the man’s upgrade request, according to the considerations outlined in the judgment. However, the Ministry opted to appeal this ruling to the Court for Administrative Affairs. In a brief judgment, the Court ruled that even if the State’s arguments in the appeal “merit consideration”, they do not justify intervening in the Tribunal’s instruction to revisit the man’s request.

HaMoked hopes that this time, the Ministry of Interior will come to the fair and proper decision and give the man – as well as the three others in his predicament - temporary status, to which they are fully eligible under the conditions established in the Minister’s 2016 announcement. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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