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12.12.2018

Attempted collective punishment of children has been blocked: following HaMoked’s intervention, the Ministry of Interior retracted its intent to revoke the status of two East Jerusalem minors who are related to an assailant

On January 10, 2017, the Minister of Interior announced his intention to revoke the status in Israel of the extended family members of an assailant who perpetrated a deadly attack two days earlier in Armon HaNatziv in Jerusalem. Among those notified were two children, a brother and sister, then 8 and 10 years old, who are the assailant’s nephew and niece.

The children were born in Jerusalem and have been living in the city most of their lives. Their mother and two younger siblings are permanent residents of Jerusalem and their father is originally from the West Bank. Due to the authorities’ delay in handling the family’s case, the two children were not registered as permanent residents upon birth; and only in 2016 were they given temporary status for a period of two years, after which they were to receive permanent status.

On January 17, 2017, HaMoked sent the Ministry of Interior written arguments against the intent to revoke the two children’s status. HaMoked stressed that not only did they have nothing to do with their uncle’s wrongdoing, but these were young children who would be made stateless if the Minister proceeded with his intention.

A few days later, the Minister revoked the status of some of the assailant’s relatives but avoided doing so in the children’s case. It should be noted that various proceedings are still ongoing regarding the revocation of status of the assailant’s adult relatives, who themselves had done nothing wrong. It appeared the Minister changed his mind about going ahead with his absurd intention to terminate the children’s registration process, but he refrained from announcing this, and left their matter undecided.

HaMoked wrote to the Ministry of Interior repeatedly, in total more than ten times, requesting to receive a written decision in the children’s case, but its letters remained unanswered. Finally – more than a year after the revocation-intent notice arrived, and before the children’s temporary status expired – HaMoked submitted to the Ministry of Interior a request to upgrade the children to permanent status, according to the child registration procedure.

About a week later, on March 5, 2018, the Ministry of Interior called HaMoked to announce that the request for a status-upgrade appointment was denied. HaMoked had no choice but to file an appeal with the Appeals Tribunal, requesting the Ministry of Interior be instructed to immediately set a status-upgrade appointment for the children. In the appeal, HaMoked complained about the Ministry of Interior’s unacceptable conduct in deliberately refusing to proceed with upgrading the status – to which the children were entitled according to the law and the regulations. HaMoked noted that the Ministry would cause severe harm to the children’s basic rights, particularly their rights to healthcare and education, if it continued delaying the process after the date on which they were supposed to receive permanent status. HaMoked added that this also constituted an infringement of their constitutional right to family life and the principle of the child’s best interest.

The following day, the Tribunal issued its decision that the Ministry of Interior must respond to the appeal within 30 days. However, the Ministry of Interior continued to stall. On July 3, 2018, after waiting for more than three months, HaMoked protested to the Tribunal over the continued delay, and requested that a hearing be scheduled. The Tribunal set a hearing for December 12, 2018.

And lo, just a day before the hearing, on December 11, 2018, the Ministry of Interior notified that the children’s status had been upgraded and asked the Tribunal to order the appeal’s deletion. The appeal was deleted on HaMoked’s consent and the Ministry of Interior was ordered to pay HaMoked’s trial costs in the sum of NIS 2,500.

Thus ended the state’s particularly despicable attempt to use collective punishment against the children.
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