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HaMoked to the Minister of Interior: apply the 2016 decision to grant temporary status to Palestinians who have been living in Israel lawfully for many years, to people with humanitarian circumstances and children who have reached adulthood

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 petitions, 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. In addition, 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. 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.

But despite the formation of the joint committee, and notwithstanding the judges' recommendation, the Knesset continues to extend the validity of the law every year without changing it in the slightest. Additionally, many Palestinians who have been living in East Jerusalem for many years did not benefit from the Minister's decision, and continue to live in the city pursuant to temporary stay permits only.

As such, on October 21, 2018, HaMoked submitted a request to the Minister of Interior to expand the 2016 decision, so that it applies to two groups that were originally excluded from it. Firstly, HaMoked demanded status upgrades for the children of East Jerusalem residents who were born before 1998, and had reached legal majority when the Minister's decision was announced. HaMoked emphasized that the Minister's decision conditioned the upgrade of the children's status on the upgrade of the status of their parent who is from the occupied territories. This, despite the fact that the children have one parent who is a permanent resident, and therefore have stronger ties to the city than their parent who is in a family unification procedure. Secondly, HaMoked demanded that the Minister's decision apply to people whose family unification request was approved before 2003, but were since transferred to the Ministry of Interior's humanitarian track due to their life circumstances. HaMoked noted that the Minister's decision links the upgrade of the status of a spouse from the occupied territories to the continued existence of a marriage, even though there is naturally a large number of Palestinians who took part in such procedures but have become widowed, divorced their spouses, or fallen victim to domestic abuse. Despite the special humanitarian nature of these cases, these people do not come under the protection of the Minister's decision and are not entitled to upgrade their status accordingly. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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