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In response to HaMoked’s freedom of information application, the Ministry of Interior announces for the first time: a lenient policy is to be implemented in processing applications for restoration of Israeli status

In January 2015, as in every year, HaMoked submitted to the Ministry of Interior an application under the Freedom of Information Law for information on revocations of residency status of East Jerusalem permanent residents in the year 2014. According to the partial data supplied by the interior ministry, in 2014, Israel revoked the residency of 107 East Jerusalem Palestinians, including 56 women and 12 minors.

HaMoked wrote back to the Ministry of Interior to insist that a full response be provided, addressing all the questions that were raised. Among other things, the Ministry of Interior had not answered HaMoked’s questions as to the number of Palestinians whose residency status was “restored” following revocation, and whether the policy on status "reinstatement" had been revised.

In May 31, 2015, the Ministry of Interior supplied a full response. The ministry announced that following the court’s comments in the context of several petitions, the population authority had decided to relax its processing of cases of permanent residents who returned to live in Israel after a lengthy stay elsewhere. The Ministry of Interior explained that this decision relied on a broader interpretation of the “Sharansky affidavit”, where it gives the Ministry of Interior discretion in each individual case, according to the particular circumstances.

HaMoked is aware of the fact that in recent months, there has been a certain relaxation in the Ministry of Interior policy regarding the handling of status-reinstatement applications by East Jerusalem residents, whose status had been revoked due to a lengthy stay abroad or the acquisition of status elsewhere. Until recently, the Ministry of Interior routinely dragged its feet and placed obstacles before Palestinians who sought the status restoration (for example, by referring them to receive a tourist visa type B/1 type, which affords no social security rights or national health insurance during the first year of the status-restoration process). Nowadays, it seems that the Ministry of Interior provides speedier responses than usual, and in most cases, temporary status is given immediately after the application is approved. HaMoked will continue following the issue to examine whether the relaxation policy is in fact implemented, and whether it applies to other aspects of the process, such as the onerous demand for proof of “center of life” in Israel for a period of two years, required upon applying for status restoration. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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