Security Prisoner
Security Detainee
Administrative Detainee
Total
25.9.2007

Following a series of petitions that were filed by HaMoked - Center for the Defence of the Individual, the court has determined that it is incumbent upon the state to inform the HCJ, within 60 days, if there shall be a change in policy with respect to family unification in the territories: In a hearing held on 24 September 2007 the court criticized the army’s and state’s policies of completely ignoring application made by residents of the territories to reside therein together with their spouses from abroad

HaMoked - Center for the Defence of the Individual has so far filed 47 petitions in the names of Palestinian families where one of the spouses is a resident of the territories and the other is a holder of a foreign passport. Owing to the fundamental importance of the petitions, eight additional human rights organizations have joined as petitioners and even the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) joined as representative in the first four petitions in which a date of hearing was set.

From the beginning of the Intifada, Israel has frozen the procedures for resolving the status of Palestinian families like these. In addition, Israel has offered many pretexts for ceasing to issue a visitor permit that has over the course of the years allowed these families to legally live together with their families in the West Bank. As a result of the freeze policy, spouses of the Palestinians have been faced with a cruel choice: if they leave the territories that will not be able to see their spouses and children again, if they stay in the territories they will not be able to see their parents, siblings and family relatives who live in their country of birth. Many have chosen against their will to stay in the territories, and they have been doomed to a life of fear, under the constant threat of deportation, arrests in their villages and towns. 

On 19 September 2007 the Center for the Defence of the Individual received the respondent’s reply to a petition by HaMoked and ACRI, a petition in which the petitioners requested that the army be instructed to receive applications for family unifications in the West Bank, and to recognize the family relationship in and of itself as a criterion for approving the applications. The state avers that the petition should be denied on the grounds that it deal with essentially political matters. In its reply the state has disregarded the right to a family life, which has been recognized as a constitutional right by HCJ 7052/03.

On 20 September, 2007 HaMoked filed its reply to the state’s reply. HaMoked motions that the state does not at all claim that there is a security risk - not even slight or hypothetical – foreseen by the petitioners. Opposition to the petition is entirely based on political motives.  These considerations are completely forbidden to be taken into account by an army commander, since he is obligated to focus exclusively on the security ramifications of the petitioners’ applications. The respondents base themselves on the HCJ Shahin case, even though within the framework of the Shahin case, the court determined that the respondents are obligated to examine in detail each and every application – but until today even this elementary thing has not been done. In addition, HaMoked claims that since the Shahin judgment was handed down there have been changes to Israeli and to International Law – the Convention on the Rights of the Child has been signed, the Basic laws have been enacted, and the right to a family life has been recognized as a constitutional right. In practice, later rulings completely overturn the decision in the Shahin case that was passed twenty years ago.

The state avers that the “freeze policy” that has been implemented since 2000, has been approved by the court on various occasions. The state is not accurate. There has never been a reasoned decision, and the court has been wary of establishing hard and fast rules in the matter, and from examining the question of the reasonableness of the army policy. Additionally the state has chosen a form of circular reasoning. On the one hand, if the court rules that the army must accept applications for family unifications it will counterclaim that it is upon the state to abide by the agreements that they have signed. On the other hand should the court rule that the State of Israel must adopt an alternate mechanism for resolving the status of the petitioners it shall constitute according to the respondents, a breach of the agreements.

To view the court’s decision of 24 September, 2004

To view HaMoked’s reply to the respondents reply dated 20 September, 2007

To view the state’s reply of 18 September, 2007

To view the court’s decision on joining the Association of Civil Rights in Israel to the petitioners of 6 August, 2007

To view the additional petition dated 11 April, 2007

mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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