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21.2.2017

HaMoked to the High Court of Justice: The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which has been extended for about 14 years, requires a fundamental constitutional solution. The Justices: "What has been ruled, stands"

During 2014, HaMoked filed with the High Court of Justice a series of petitions in the matter of Palestinians, spouses and children of Israeli residents, who have been living in Israel for many years by virtue of a family unification procedure, without status and social rights and without any certainty as to what would become of them in the future. HaMoked emphasized that the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law which was enacted in 2003, as a temporary law ("temporary order") has been extended for years, without any consideration on behalf of the state as to its harsh ramifications on a growing population of thousands of Palestinians and their families in Israel.

In a hearing which was held on June 8, 2015, in the petitions, the Justices made it clear to the state that sometimes the passage of time required the exercise of judicial scrutiny over the lawfulness of a law with respect to a certain population segment – in this case, those people who as a result of the Citizenship Law remained without status, although it has been proved year after year that their presence in Israel posed no threat.

Consequently, the Minister of the Interior notified in April 2016 that about 2,000 Palestinian spouses undergoing a family unification procedure would receive status in Israel. However, the Minister's decision pertained only to those individuals whose family unification applications were submitted until the end of 2003 – an arbitrary criterion, which once again left thousands who have been living in Israel for many years, without status. In that regard HaMoked argued that it would be more reasonable and proportionate that a decision to grant status would be based on the length of the period in which a person lived in Israel.

In a hearing held in the High Court of Justice on February 20, 2017, HaMoked noted that contrary to the state's arguments that the law was serving a security purpose, data indicated that the reality was more complex. Accordingly, data presented by the Israel Security Agency (ISA) in June 2016, indicated that from about 12,500 Palestinians who entered into a family unification procedure from 2001 through 2016, only 17(!) were involved in attacks, as alleged by the security forces.

Despite the harsh situation and the severe across-the board ramifications of the law denying family unification from Palestinians, the President of the Supreme Court suggested to HaMoked to refrain from discussing the constitutional aspect and to delete the petitions, without prejudice. HaMoked insisted on the petitions and argued that the time has come for the court to make a decision in this crucial matter.
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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