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5.6.2018

Permanently temporary: the Knesset extended the validity of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law for the eighteenth(!) time, preventing family unification for Palestinians in Israel

On June 6, 2018, the Knesset approved the Government's request to extend the validity of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law by another year, until June 30, 2019. 44 members of Knesset voted in favor of the extension, and 15 voted against it. The law, passed in 2003 as a "temporary order", prevents Palestinians from the occupied territories from being granted status in Israel as part of family unification processes.


The request to extend the law was discussed on May 28, 2018 by the joint committee of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and the Internal Affairs Committee – which has the authority to recommend that the Knesset approve the request, reject it, or approve it for a different period of time than suggested.


Despite the State's claim that the purpose of the law is security related, the racist demographic motive behind it was revealed in the discussion, in a statement made by Knesset Member Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli, according to which the Jewish character of Israel is a consideration in "decisions not to grant certain rights to residents who are not citizens".


The Israel Security Agency failed, as previously, to present data that justifies the application of the law to minors between the ages of 14-18 who have one parent who is a resident of Israel and another who is a resident of the occupied territories, and to Palestinians who are 55 years of age or older and are in family unification processes. Undeterred, the committee decided to recommend that the Knesset extend the validity of the law by another year, without making any attempts to limit the law's continued harm to these vulnerable populations. The Knesset, as aforementioned, accepted the committee's recommendation, and the law will continue to have a detrimental effect on the lives of many for the 15th year running.


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