HaMoked to the HCJ: it is unthinkable that the Ministry of Interior makes crucial decisions concerning people’s lives in a vindictive and patently biased manner
A woman, originally from the West Bank, has been living in Jerusalem for many years with her Israeli resident husband and their three children. In 2003, the couple’s family unification application was approved, and since then the woman has been living is Israel – legally – with nothing but permits of stay, without rights or status.
Following the Minister of Interior’s April 2016 decision to grant status to Palestinians whose application for family unification in Israel had been approved before the end of 2003, it seemed that the couple and their children would finally get the chance of a more stable future.
And lo, in September 2016, the couple received the Ministry of Interior’s notice that it was “considering refusing to upgrade [the woman’s] status”, based on security officials’ information about her brother’s arrest and her brother-in-law’s involvement in perpetrating an attack against Israelis. The ministry did not claim there was any information about any security threat emanating from the presence in Israel of the woman herself – who has been living and raising her family in the city for more than a decade and a half (!); and yet it condemned the woman to continue living without status, with just renewable permits, because of acts perpetrated by others, with no involvement on her part.
Following the rejection of its administrative appeal against the Ministry of Interior’s decision, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on March 9, 2017, to instruct the Ministry of Interior to give the woman status in Israel. HaMoked stressed that the ministry’s decision was inherently illegal and based on extraneous considerations, and that its meaning was “leaving the petitioner hanging by the threat of military permits, which are renewed every year, without any prospect of basic protection of her basic rights as an inhabitant of the city for nearly two decades and a mother of children therein”.
This decision is just another of the Ministry of Interior’s vindictive steps against the residents of East Jerusalem, targeting especially the families of assailants. The Ministry of Interior has the power to decide fates, and it is unthinkable that it would use this power to serve as the state’s tool of revenge.