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Following HaMoked’s petition: the Ministry of Interior will continue extending the status in Israel of Palestinians whose family unification procedure has ended following a change in their marital status, until the ministerial humanitarian committee decides their case

On February 7, 2017, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on behalf of a Palestinian man, the father of four underage children who are residents of East Jerusalem, whom he raises on his own following his divorce from their mother, an East Jerusalem resident. The Ministry of Interior refused to extend the temporary status the man had held by virtue of his marriage, claiming lack of authority – although it already extended the man’s status after the divorce, and despite the fact that his application for status in Israel independent from his ex-wife is still pending before the humanitarian committee established under the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law.

HaMoked stressed that the Ministry of Interior’s refusal to extend the status of people in such position as this man, coupled with the humanitarian committee’s procrastination in handling applications, left such people, who were already in a difficult predicament, exposed to the threat of deportation from their homes and forced separation from their families. HaMoked also asserted that the decision to deprive a man of the status he already had, especially one who claims humanitarian circumstances, was blatantly unbalanced and infringed on the right to family life and the principle of the child’s best interest. Moreover, the decision also constituted wrongful discrimination against people in humanitarian circumstances from the OPT, as compared to others from elsewhere – whose applications are placed before the interministerial committee – who are protected from deportation so long as their application is pending.

On May 10, 2017, the state announced that the Minister of Interior had decided – on the recommendation of the humanitarian committee – to give the father temporary Israeli status (A/5 visa). As to the principle issue, the state decided to extend the status (or stay permit) of OPT residents whose marriage to an Israeli resident has ended due to divorce, marital abuse or death, pending the decision of the humanitarian committee in their case. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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