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8.7.2012

HaMoked to the Prime Minister: Rescind government resolution banning family unification with Gaza Strip residents immediately

On July 5, 2012, HaMoked contacted the Prime Minister, the Minister of Interior and the Attorney General, demanding the immediate revocation of a government resolution banning family unification between Israelis and Gaza Strip residents. The government resolution relies on Section 3D (the security clause) of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order), which stipulates that the Minister of Interior may refuse an application for family unification between an Israeli and a resident of the Occupied Palestinian Territories because of a security risk associated with the foreign spouse. At the time the resolution was passed, four petitions challenging the Temporary Order were pending before the court, including one submitted by HaMoked. In early 2012, the High Court of Justice (HCJ) dismissed the petitions, holding that even if the Law impinged on constitutional rights, including the right to equality and the right to family life, the impingement was proportionate, meaning that the Law was constitutional and need not be repealed.

After the HCJ’s shameful approval of the Temporary Order, HaMoked contacted the Prime Minister, stating that the government resolution failed to meet fundamental constitutional principles and that it represented a radical departure from the provisions of the Temporary Order. In the communication, HaMoked notes that although the language of the law and the HCJ ruling allow the Minister of Interior to reject a family unification application submitted by a specific person, based on security considerations, the government resolution instructs the Minister of Interior to deny all applications for family unification with Gaza residents, irrespective of whether there are any concrete allegations against the applicants. In so doing, the government resolution eliminates the discretion granted to the Minister of Interior while expanding the “security threat” argument and applying it to any person listed as a Gaza resident, even if he does not live in Gaza at all, has not lived there for a long time, or even if he has never set foot in the Gaza Strip.

Moreover, HaMoked argues that the government resolution disproportionately impinges on fundamental rights, primarily the right to family life. As the right to family life is a constitutional right, it may be restricted only pursuant to powers expressly granted in law and only due to significant considerations. A general, sweeping violation of the right to family unification, based only on a threat posed a person’s address, rather than the person himself harms all individuals who are not considered security threats and is certainly neither reasonable nor proportionate.

HaMoked repeats its call for the immediate revocation of the sweeping policy – expressed in the government resolution – and its demand to follow the explicit provisions of the security clause in the Temporary Order: performing an individual examination of every application while considering the opinion of security officials with respect to the situation in any given area, as one factor that must be taken into account, among others, including the fundamental right to family life.
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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