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HaMoked to the Minister of Interior: set a maximal age for the denial of family unification to Palestinians in Israel and East Jerusalem

HaMoked has submitted a request to the Minister of Interior to exclude Palestinians above the age of 50 or 55 from the provisions of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, so that West Bank Palestinians in this age group who are married to Israelis or East Jerusalemites can receive legal status in a family unification process.

During 2014, HaMoked submitted a series of petitions to the High Court of Justice (HCJ), demanding that Palestinian residents of the occupied territories who have been living in Israel or East Jerusalem for a long time be excluded from the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) and be granted temporary residency in the country, at the very least. As part of the petition, in 2015 the state announced the formation of a joint committee of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the Internal Affairs Committee in the Knesset, charged with examining data relating to the Temporary Order, and recommending to the Knesset Plenum whether to extend the law or not, and whether to change its provisions. In addition, in April 2016 the state announced that the Minister of Interior had decided to grant temporary residency to approximately 2,000 Palestinians whose request for family unification was submitted no later than the end of 2003. As such, in a judgment issued on October 18, 2017, the Court ordered the deletion of the petitions, claiming that the situation that had existed at the time of their submission no longer existed, and there was therefore no cause to continue discussing them. However, the Court left the door open to the submission of principled petitions against the Temporary Order, and two of the three judges on the panel stressed that the law should be mitigated.

Despite the formation of the joint committee, and notwithstanding the judges' recommendations, the Knesset continued to extend the validity of the law year after year, with no modifications. Each time an extension was discussed, HaMoked claimed before the committee that the law, the declared purpose of which is security related, harms groups that pose no danger, and should therefore be excluded from it.

On September 25, 2018, HaMoked submitted a request to the Minister of Interior to revise the law, so that a maximal age is set, above which residents of the occupied territories who have been living in Israel and East Jerusalem as part of family unification procedures, are no longer barred from receiving residency status in the country. HaMoked stressed that the military's own regulations permit Palestinian women aged 50 and above, and Palestinian men aged 55 and above, to enter Israel freely without a permit. It is therefore clear that the security forces do not view Palestinians aged 50 or 55 and upwards as posing a threat. HaMoked further emphasized that in the four deliberations that took place since the committee's formation, the security forces failed to point to any danger stemming from this group. If the purpose of the law is indeed security related, as the state has repeatedly claimed, it is clear that Palestinians of this age group should be excluded from it. HaMoked further claimed that, as a law that seriously harms human rights, it should be interpreted as narrowly as possible. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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