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HaMoked to the Ministry of Interior: new procedure of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Granting Status on Humanitarian Grounds makes it impossible for stateless persons to apply, leaving them with no other recourse

Many Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem have no civil status anywhere in the world. The circumstances behind their stateless condition are varied, and most stem from the many obstacles Israel places in the path of Palestinians from East Jerusalem who seek to register their children in the population registry – especially when registration is not done shortly after birth.

The right to civil status is a condition for exercising many other rights, which stateless individuals are also denied. People who have no status in Israel are not eligible for National Insurance Institute services and benefits or healthcare through health funds; they cannot enroll in schools, work legally, open bank accounts, officially own property, get a driver’s license or travel documents, and every encounter with security forces may end in arrest. Consequently, it also becomes difficult for them to start a family and maintain social ties.

The Ministry of Interior has no procedures for granting status to Palestinians who have been living here for years with no status. Their only recourse is to apply to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for Granting Status for Humanitarian Reasons. This is the advisory committee to the Ministry of Interior that reviews exceptional, humanitarian applications of foreign nationals who are not eligible for status under the Entry into Israel Law 5712-1952. (It does not consider applications of West Bank Palestinians or nationals of designated “enemy states”.)

On December 31, 2018, the Ministry of Interior published an updated version of the procedure of this committee, which includes additional stringent provisions. HaMoked wrote to the Ministry of Interior on February 11, 2018 demanding two changes to the procedure. Section D2 requires the applicant to present a “passport valid for two years beyond the validity of the requested visa”. HaMoked stressed that the committee was established, inter alia, in order to provide a solution for stateless persons – who naturally have no passport – and therefore the procedure must make clear that this prerequisite does not apply to them.

HaMoked also demanded that section E2 be amended, wherein it is stipulated that when relevant details or documents supporting the application are missing, the applicant must provide them within ten days, otherwise the application would be examined as is and is liable to be rejected outright. HaMoked stressed that the people applying to the committee mostly belonged to disadvantaged populations, for whom coping with bureaucratic systems was especially complex to begin with. Therefore allowing such a brief period for provision of additional documentation was an unfair and unreasonable requirement. HaMoked noted that the work of the committee itself was characterized by severe delays and foot-dragging in handling applications submitted to it, and that it was inappropriate for the committee to set demands it was far from meeting itself. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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