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The HCJ dismisses the petitions against the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order): the decision legitimizes an infamous law, which violates the rights to equality and to family life

On January 11, 2012, the High Court of Justice (HCJ) rejected the petitions against the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order), 5763-2003. The four petitions, including one by HaMoked, all filed in 2007, were considered and decided together by the court. The majority justices accepted that the constitutional right to family life, which derives from the right to dignity, but held there was no need to exercise this right specifically in Israel. The court also ruled that even if a violation of constitutional rights, including the right to equality, did exist, it was proportionate, therefore the Law was constitutional and should not be repealed.
This was the second time the HCJ examined the constitutionality of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law. The first round of petitions against the Law was filed in 2003, upon the Law's entry into effect. Then, as now, the HCJ rejected the petitions, although the majority opinion held that the law does indeed harm the constitutional rights to family life and to equality of Arab citizens of Israel.
HaMoked's petition of June 2007 (HCJ 5030/07) focused on the severe impact of the Law on children of permanent residents from East Jerusalem. HaMoked asserted that even if it had not been intended to hamper the registration of children of Israeli residents, it effectively did so. Primarily, the harm to residents' children results from the fact that the residency status of the guardian parent is not conferred upon his children automatically, as does the status of citizenship. Under the interior ministry's regulations, the status of children of Israeli residents is determined according to their parents' center of life. The Temporary Order is applied to those children whom the Law defines as "residents of the Area". These are either children who are registered in the Palestinian population registry or else those who at some point have lived in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). If they are over 14, these children can only receive military permits to stay in Israel, nothing else. Only if they are under 14, can they receive permits to reside in Israel, affording them social security rights as well. By subjecting Regulation 12 to the Temporary Order, the Ministry of Interior also applies this infamous policy on Israeli-born children who, for whatever reason, were registered in the OPT population registry.
 In her ruling, Justice Naor gave specific consideration of HaMoked's petition. The justice held that according to the state's undertaking, upon reaching age 18, children who remained in Israel by virtue of stay permits, would not be removed once they reach 18, provided they continue to maintain their center of life in Israel. Therefore, the justice averred, there is no threat of the adult child being separated from his family. Thus, the justice clearly disregarded the assertion that this arrangement shackles the child to his home. Consequently, the child will never be able to travel abroad for studies or otherwise or obtain an Israeli driver's license, and most importantly, he will have to live on without civil status or social security rights.
HaMoked asserts that the ruling legitimizes a disgraceful law, which violates the rights to equality and family life. Under the auspices of the law, minor children will continue to live in Israel by virtue of military permits, without being entitled to social security rights or permanent legal status. It is exceedingly harmful to children, and constitutes a violation of Israel's obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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