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Press release: petition to Israeli High Court of Justice: inhuman conditions at the East Jerusalem office of the Ministry of Interior and the Employment Service

High Court to hear petition Thursday, March 15

HaMoked and Ma'an petitioned the High Court of Justice together with several residents of Jerusalem and private sector lawyers regarding the extreme overcrowding and excessive delays in service at the East Jerusalem office of the Ministry of Interior Population and Immigration Authority and the Employment Service. Filed February 9, 2017, the petition asks the Court to instruct these two authorities to improve conditions and make their services properly accessible to residents of East Jerusalem.

This is the fourth petition on this matter; for a decade Palestinians have complained about the unreasonable conditions at these offices: hours-long queues, no shelter from the sun or rain, no bathroom or drinking fountains, or benches where the elderly, pregnant women or the handicapped can rest, all in addition to a lengthy and humiliating security screening process. The situation was exacerbated by new Ministry of Interior regulations in June 2017 that no one can enter the facility without an appointment.

"The physical conditions and treatment in East Jerusalem stand in stark contrast to those Israeli citizens enjoy in the West Jerusalem Ministry of Interior office," said Attorney Abir Joubran-Dakwar of HaMoked. "It is unacceptable that obtaining basic services becomes an ordeal fraught with humiliation. All of the hardships and obstacles prevent residents from realizing their rights."

In its response to the petition, the state acknowledged "significant crowding in the wait for the security check" as well as "difficulty in making an appointment at the Population Authority, and delay in receiving services as a result of this difficulty." However, they authorities do not propose any solution for resolving these problems in the foreseeable future.

For more details: Attorney Abir Joubran-Dakwar, 050-220-5526, (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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