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17.6.2019

HaMoked in a petition to the District Court: Temporary status must be given to children of East Jerusalem residents undergoing a status restoration procedure, to ensure their access to health services and social security rights

East Jerusalemites who were stripped of their permanent residency status – as part of Israel longstanding policy known as the “quiet deportation” – and apply to the Ministry of Interior to regain their status, must undergo a procedure which lasts at least two years. During this time, they possess temporary status, until the examination of their request is completed and their original status restored. Because of the Minister of Interior’s policy, a temporary resident may legally work in the country and is entitled to health services and social security rights, but they cannot apply to legalize the status of their minor children who were born abroad. Only after the parents regain their permanent status, can they file a request to legalize the status of those of their children who are still minors.

This state of affairs is problematic because during the two-year period in which the parents’ request is examined, the Ministry of Interior does not give the children a status which affords them health services and social security rights. Only following HaMoked’s letter on the matter, in October 2018 the Ministry of Interior announced the issuance of a tourist visa to children who have one parent undergoing a status restoration procedure. This visa legalizes the children’s presence in the country, but leaves them without rights. This Ministry of Interior policy disproportionately and unjustifiably infringes on the children’s best interest and their parents’ right to family life.

Therefore, on June 16, 2019, HaMoked petitioned the Jerusalem District Court to demand these children be given the same status as their Jerusalemite parent with whom they live – first temporary status, than permanent status. HaMoked also demanded the status be given to the children at the same time as it is given to the parent, or a short time after.

In the petition, HaMoked reviewed the relevant case law, beginning with the ‘Awad precedent (HCJ 282/88), which consolidated the policy of the “quiet deportation”, and ending with the Al-Haq judgment (AAA 3268/14), in which the court recognized the right of East Jerusalem residents to return to their home, given that they are “indigenous inhabitants” whose status is unique. However, argued HaMoked, “despite the principled recognition of the unique status of the residents of East Jerusalem, and its implications on the manner of handling their requests to restore their status, no satisfactory arrangement has yet been found for residents who return from abroad with children who were born there”.

In the petition, HaMoked clarified that this policy of the Ministry of Interior compels the parent, who has already been recognized as a resident of Israel, to choose between his or her right to return home and proper protection of the children’s needs. In this situation, residents who wish to regain their revoked, original status cannot arrange – for a long period and sometimes eternally – an adequate legal status for their minor children who came with them on their return to the city. This is especially true in cases where on arriving to the country, the children are close to age 16 – or even 12, when the children are subject to the draconian Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law.
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