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HaMoked to the High Court of Justice: Residents of the oPt who have been lawfully living in Israel for years, must be given permanent status after they reach their sixth decade. In the absence of any security claim against them, there is no justification to the continued infringement of their rights

In a series of High Court petitions, filed during February 2019, HaMoked demanded that the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order), 5763-2003 no longer apply to women and men from the oPt ages 50 and 55 years or older who have been lawfully living in Israel only pursuant to stay permits or temporary status. Alternatively, HaMoked demanded an amendment to the Law to include maximal age caps to allow those in these age groups to complete their family unification procedures and receive permanent status in Israel.

HaMoked asserted that the Law’s continued application to these older age groups was unjustified, given that the Law's single express purpose is security, and given that the relevant security officials themselves acknowledged that those in this older demographic did not pose any security risk. Therefore the Law must be cancelled or changed without delay. Maintaining the ban on granting permanent status in Israel to those in older age groups disproportionately infringes their rights, including the rights to family life and health.

HaMoked based its 14 petitions, among other things, on the judgment of the High Court of Justice (HCJ) in HaMoked’s series of petitions filed in 2014 to demand the Law’s application be limited. In the judgment, the High Court justices ruled that a substantive and comprehensive discussion must be conducted before each extension of the Law, including an examination of its security necessity and the extent of the harm it causes.

The HCJ rejected the petitions following the Ministry of Interior’s decision to give temporary residency status to over a thousand Palestinians whose family-unification requests were filed before the Law was enacted, and also following the establishment of a joint Interior-Foreign Affairs committee tasked with examining relevant data regarding the Law and recommending to the Knesset plenum on the Law’s prolongation and possible revision. However, HaMoked maintained in its petitions, the joint committee was effectively nothing but a rubber stamp: in its five sessions in the years 2016-2018, security officials had not managed to point to any security risk arising from the older-age groups living in Israel. They also acknowledged that older Palestinians from the oPt can enter Israel without any restrictions. Despite this, the committee extended the validity of the Law for an additional period, without any revision.

HaMoked reiterated its position that the Law was inherently unacceptable and unconstitutional, but noted that even to those who think otherwise, it should be clear that the Law was disproportionate and unreasonable regarding the group in question, and that the Law was much more sweeping than necessary and harmful for no purpose.

HaMoked clarified that as a person grows older, the need for a basic safety net and a stable social security anchor increases. But these are denied from those in the older age groups to whom the Law applies – especially their lack of eligibility to receive the healthcare provided every other resident of the state, as well as unemployment benefits and, when the time comes, also old-age pension. HaMoked noted that the harm caused to this group is also not in line with the principle of equality, as its members are needlessly discriminated against compared to others originating from elsewhere who undergo family unification. HaMoked added that the damage caused by the Law contradicts the country’s values, including those enshrined in the Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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