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30.8.2012

HaMoked to the authorities: Follow the protocol forbidding the removal of individuals with open Ministry of Interior files from Israel

The Ministry of Interior has established in protocol that individuals with an open Ministry of Interior file must not be removed from Israel. The purpose of this protocol is to protect people from deportation so long as a decision has not been made in their case. Despite the fact this protocol is also meant to shield Palestinians from deportation, HaMoked has come across a number of cases in which the police and the Israel Prison Service (IPS) removed Palestinians to the West Bank or the Gaza Strip despite the fact that they have a family unification application pending before the Ministry of Interior.

In one case processed by HaMoked, the police came to the workplace of a Palestinian who is married to an Israeli resident. Despite the fact that the man has several files pending with the Ministry of Interior in connection with his wife’s application for family unification with him, the officers arrested him on the grounds that he was an illegal alien and transported him to the West Bank. After HaMoked petitioned the District Court, the judge revoked the removal decision and ruled that “the Petitioner should not have been removed before a decision in his matter was rendered.” In another case, the IPS forcibly removed a Palestinian to the Gaza Strip. The man’s wife had filed an application for family unification with him, which was still pending at the Ministry of Interior, but the IPS ignored his statements that he had been living in East Jerusalem with his family for years pursuant to this application. In this case, the court elected not to intervene in the decision and left the husband in Gaza, away from his wife and three young children.

On August 29, 2012, HaMoked contacted the Ministry of Interior, the Israel Police and the IPS regarding the breaches of protocol. HaMoked demanded operative measures be taken to prevent the recurrence of forcible removals which are contrary to Ministry of Interior directives.

In its letter to the Ministry of Interior, HaMoked emphasized that the ministry must inform law enforcement agencies about the protocol and make sure the relevant computer databases are up to date to prevent removal, in real time, in any case where there is an open Ministry of Interior file. HaMoked also noted that presenting confirmation that an application has been filed with the Ministry of Interior is not always enough to prevent the removal and suggested that the Ministry of Interior provide every applicant with a document that expressly states that no enforcement measures may be taken against its holder, as long as his application is pending before the Ministry of Interior.
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