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15.6.2017

HaMoked to the HCJ: the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law has been extended automatically again, without any change or effort to limit the scope of harm to the Palestinian population living in the country for years; the Law’s broad repercussions must be reviewed anew

During 2014, HaMoked filed a series of petitions to the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on behalf of Palestinians – spouses and children of East Jerusalem residents – who had been living in Israel for many years without civil status, social security rights or knowledge as to what tomorrow might bring. HaMoked stressed that the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, enacted in 2003 as a provisional statute (“Temporary Order”), had been repeatedly extended for years, without the state addressing its fateful consequences for the growing population of thousands of Palestinians lawfully living in Israel with their families in the framework of the family unification procedure.

Given the Minister of Interior’s decision to grant Israeli status to more than 2,000 such Palestinians who had been living thus in Israel for years, the President of the Supreme Court advised HaMoked to forgo a discussion on the Law’s constitutionality and delete these petitions without prejudice (meaning it could present the court with these arguments again sometime in the future). But given the severe broad repercussions of the Law which prevented family unification with Palestinians, HaMoked insisted on its petitions, stressing that the time had come for the court to rule on the issue.

On May 29, 2017, the Knesset joint committee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Internal Affairs Committee recommended the Law be extended yet again. HaMoked therefore sent a letter to the Knesset legal advisor, asserting that the current Law should not be passed given the disproportionate and needless harm it caused to so many people. HaMoked held that under the Law in its present form, Palestinian minors aged 14-18 whose one parent was an Israeli resident and the other a resident of the OPT were left without status or social security rights in Israel, despite the fact that the security establishment data did not point to an increased “security risk” emanating from this group. Thus also with regard to the population of adult Palestinians – women over 50 and men over 55 – taking part in the family unification procedure or applying for Israeli status on humanitarian grounds. HaMoked pointed out that the state had been persistently refusing – ostensibly on security grounds – to give such people status and social security rights in Israel, even after they had been living in Israel lawfully for many years, while allowing Palestinians in the same age groups living in the OPT to enter Israel on a daily basis and without restriction.

On June 12, 2017, the Knesset extended the Law until June 30, 2018, by a majority of 57 Knesset members in favor and 16 against.

Thereupon HaMoked submitted an updating notice to the HCJ regarding the prolongation of the Law in its existing and injurious form and despite the court’s past comments that at some point in the future a substantial revision of the Law should be considered with a view to limiting the harm it caused, especially where there was no real security justification for it. HaMoked also recalled that the court had long ago noted that sometimes the elapse of time itself warranted a renewed judicial review on the question of the Law’s constitutionality concerning a certain segment of the population; in this case – those people whom the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law left without Israeli status even though their presence in the country had been proven year after year to entail no security risk.
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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