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3.6.2019

New State Comptroller report: sharp criticism over the state’s deficient handling of the civil status of East Jerusalem Palestinians

On June 2, 2019, the Israeli State Comptroller, Judge (ret.) Joseph Chaim Shapira, published a special report on the city of Jerusalem, containing an extensive chapter titled “The State’s Handling of the Civil Status of the Residents of East Jerusalem”. The chapter describes the deficient conduct of the Ministry of Interior and the National Insurance Institute towards East Jerusalem Palestinians, which “harms, often in a very severe manner, [their] possibility… to fully realize their rights as permanent residents, and as people whose families lived in the country years before the State of Israel was established”, and which forces them to “turn to judicial instances to fulfill their rights to civil status and other rights deriving from that status”.

The deficiencies detailed in the report are in line with HaMoked’s claims made throughout the years concerning the unacceptable conditions in the Ministry of Interior bureau in East Jerusalem and the protracted processing time of requests for child registration and family unification in cases where the foreign spouse is a resident of the oPt. To quote the report: “the waiting conditions and wait times in the Population Bureau in East Jerusalem during the review period are harsh and do not satisfy the conditions for receiving services from a state that upholds the rights of its residents and citizens”; “… the service provided to the East Jerusalem residents is still inferior by far to that provided to citizens in other parts of the country… [T]here is reason for concern that the Population Authority has not acted with sufficient determination to provide efficient and effective service to the residents of East Jerusalem”.

In view of the harsh findings, the State Comptroller recommends, among other things, that the Minister of Interior conduct extensive staff work to formulate an overall policy in this area, and in this framework, it may be advisable “to receive the comments of the residents and civil society entities”.
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