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HaMoked together with other Israeli human rights organizations petition the court: the Ministry of Interior must promptly process family-unification status requests of Palestinians harmed by the recently expired Citizenship and Entry Into Israel Law

For some 18 years, The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) of 2003 sweepingly – and ostensibly on security grounds – prohibited granting “residency status in Israel” to Palestinians from the Occupied Territories for reasons of family unification. Following the legal battle waged by HaMoked and other Israeli human rights organizations, the draconian and discriminatory Law was modified and its harm mitigated but the Knesset continued to extend it periodically without fail. Consequently, to this day, thousands of Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens or residents must live in their home for years on end with nothing but military stay permits and no social security rights. In a minority of the cases, those who applied for family unification and received initial approval before the enactment of the Law, receive temporary status in Israel, which affords them social security rights but gives them no sense of stability in their own homes.

On July 6, 2021, the Law expired after the Knesset voted down the bill to extend it. But within weeks it became clear that the Minister of Interior had instructed Ministry clerks not to process requests for citizenship or permanent status filed by those to whom the Law had until recently applied – a population of more than 13,000 people. This, despite human rights organizations’ repeated communications to the Ministry to resume processing such requests according to the regular procedures and to arrange such applicants’ status.

Therefore, on September 14, 2021, HaMoked, ACRI and PHR-Israel petitioned the Court for Administrative Affairs to compel the Ministry of Interior “to process requests for status in Israel of those on whom the [2003 Law] applied until it expired […]”.

The petitioners asserted that the Ministry of Interior acted without authority in continuing to implement “arrangements that violate constitutional basic rights”. The petitioners also stressed that once the Law expired, the regular normative arrangements for granting status in Israel were again in force with regards to the harmed population, and should be applied with a view to uphold the right to family life and the right to equality. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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