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Administrative Detainee

Two petitions on behalf of two families who live in Wadi Hummus, a section of Sur Bahir - the Court accepted one petition and rejected the other: the first petition concerned the denial of a request to register children and the second – the denial of an application for family unification. In both cases the Interior Ministry claimed that the requests had been rejected since the families live outside the Jerusalem municipality

In 1967 the territory of the Sur Bahir village was annexed to Jerusalem and became an integral part of the city. Over the years, Israel built neighborhoods around the village intended for settlement by Jews, which diminished the land reserves of the village and impeded its development. Due to the severe shortage of land for construction,  a dire housing crisis developed. The only direction in which the village could expand in order to alleviate this problem even slightly was to the southeast. However, part of the village land in that area is outside the Jerusalem city limits. Wadi Hummus is one such area, and lies outside the municipality.  

When Israel determined the route of the separation wall around Jerusalem, an additional difficulty emerged: the proposed route split the village and did not accord with the boundaries of Jerusalem's municipal jurisdiction. The people of Sur Bahir launched a legal battle against the plan to establish the wall to the west of the southeastern territory of the village, in order to leave the village intact. Their struggle was successful, and the wall was built in such a way that the residents of the southeastern neighborhood, including the petitioners, were on the same side as the rest of village.

The petitions
Two petitions were submitted to the Administrative Affairs Court, regarding residents of Wadi Hummus, Sur Bahir: the first, by HaMoked, concerned the registration of two children of an Israeli resident, who lives in Sur Bahir, in the Israeli population registry. Like other homes in the southeastern neighborhood of the village, the petitioner's home is located in the Wadi Humus area, outside municipal jurisdiction. The second petition concerned the denial of an application for family unification filed on behalf of the spouse of an Israeli resident who lives in Sur Bahir. The couple's application had initially been approved, but they were later told that their application was rejected because they do not reside in Israel. The couple lives on a plot of land belonging to the petitioner's family, in Wadi Hummus.  

On 26 January 2009, Judge Zur accepted the petition concerning family unification. Addressing the issue of whether the residents of Wadi Hummus have a center of life in Israel, the Judge relied on a judgment given by the National Labor Court, (NIF10177/05 Sur Baher Village Committee v. the National Insurance Institute of Israel), which stated that people who hold permanent residency in Israel and live in Wadi Humus are entitled to rights under the National Insurance Law. The Court ruled that the decision regarding the National Insurance Law should also be applied in the case of the Entry into Israel Law -- as the people of the neighborhood are considered Israeli residents for the purpose of realizing social security rights, there is no reason to consider them otherwise for the purpose of realizing the right to family life. The Court ruled that "the petitioners' neighborhood is formally outside of Israel, however, due to the unique reality which had been created, it is possible to rule that the center of their lives is inside Israel." 

That very same day, at the same court, Judge Sohlberg rejected the petition concerning the registration of two young children of a Sur Bahir resident in the Israeli population registry. The father has permanent residency in Israel and lives with his family in the same area of Wadi Hummus. In this instance the Court rejected the claim that the decision regarding the National Insurance Law should be applied in relation to the Entry into Israel Law. The Court ruled that "persons who do not hold Israeli residency are not entitled to those provisions." Indeed, the petitioner's children were not Israeli residents as they had yet to be registered in the population registry – this was the very cause of the petition. The Court concluded – "It is the nature of borders and boundary lines, that they distinguish, sometimes arbitrarily, between those living on either side. But the Court is powerless to help. As Israel has not applied its sovereignty to the territory to the east of Jerusalem's municipality and its prescribed borders; as the family members live together under the same roof; as they dwell and sleep permanently in their home which is outside Israel, petitioners 2 and 3 do not meet the requirement of having a center of life in Israel." (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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