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At the end of a long struggle: the Ministry of Interior retracts its decision to deport a Palestinian woman – who has been living with her family in East Jerusalem for many years – based on her husband’s family tie to an assailant, and announced her status will be upgraded

A woman from the West Bank who is married to an East Jerusalem resident has been undergoing a family unification process with her husband since 2000, when she came to live with him in the city. Only in 2004 was their family unification application accepted, when the Citizenship and Entry to Israel Law (Temporary Order), freezing such family unification proceedings, was already in force. This meant that the woman could not receive status in Israel, forcing her to live with her family in Jerusalem with only military-issued stay permits, renewed annually, without social security rights or any certainty as to her future.

In April 2008, the Ministry of Interior notified the couple that it would not renew the woman’s stay permit and would terminate their family unification process due to the husband’s family tie with the perpetrator of an attack against Israelis in Jerusalem the month before. This was an outrageous decision given that the assailant was no longer alive and therefore no longer posed a security threat. Moreover, the decision contradicted the Citizenship and entry into Israel Law, which stipulates that refusing a family unification application on security grounds must be based on information relating to the “sponsored” spouse (in this case, the woman) or his/her immediate relatives – not the “sponsoring” spouse (the husband) or his/her relatives, who have Israeli status as it is, whose attributed “threat level” would not be affected by the refusal. In an administrative appeal filed in May 2008, HaMoked asserted that the Ministry of Interior’s decision – in effect, the woman’s deportation from her home – constituted punishment of the couple for another person’s actions, to serve as a warning for others. The appeal was rejected.

In the framework of HaMoked’s petition, filed on October 23, 2008, the Jerusalem District Court returned the matter for reconsideration by the Ministry of Interior’s Appellate Committee for Foreigners, and the petition was deleted at the parties’ consent. But during the two following years, the Ministry of Interior did not summon the woman to a hearing, and did not process her case. Therefore, on July 2011, HaMoked filed an administrative appeal to the committee for non-response. Only then, on October 2, 2011, did the Ministry of Interior announce that it decided to approve the request, subject to the stipulated criteria, and give the woman a stay permit.

Following the Minister of Interior’s decision from April 2016, to give temporary Israeli status to Palestinians who had been living in Israel for many years with just military-issued stay permits in the framework of the family unification procedure, the couple were requested to arrive at the Ministry of Interior on January 31, 2017, for the woman’s status upgrade. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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