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3.7.2019

Following HaMoked’s petition: for the first time, Palestinians who live with their families in Israel and hold temporary status in the country are allowed to regularly travel through Israel’s International Airport

On June 2, 2016, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to cancel the prohibition on travel to and from Israel via Ben Gurion International Airport by Palestinians living in Israel or East Jerusalem in the framework of family unification procedures, who do not have permanent residency status, but rather temporary residency status (visa type A/5) or just military stay permits. Inexplicably and unacceptably, the military issued a prohibition on such people’s travel via Ben Gurion, although it has no authority in the matter. The Minister of Interior, who has sole authority concerning entry to and exit from Israel, has never forbidden such travel.

After the state failed to provide satisfactory answers to the questions of the court on the issues raised by HaMoked, on July 11, 2017, an order nisi was issued in the petition, requiring the state to explain its position. At the same time, and following the court’s comments and the petitioners’ claims, the parties began conferring in an attempt to formulate an agreed and practical resolution.

On July 1, 2019, the parties submitted to the court a notice and a consensual request regarding their agreements and disagreements.

The notice provided details of a plan agreed by both side, for arranging the passage through Ben Gurion of Palestinians with temporary residency status – a group that numbers over 4,000 people. These temporary residents would be allowed to travel via Israel’s “international airports” (i.e., Ben Gurion and Ramon airport in the south), subject to an advance security check. For the purpose of the advance check and permission to travel, the temporary resident would file a request one month ahead of time, via an online site of the Population and Immigration Authority, which would be available in Arabic. The website is expected to be launched by the end of 2020.

It was also announced that until the site goes online, permits for exit through Ben Gurion will be issued by the military subject to the filing of an individual request at the District Coordination Office (DCO), and this permission will be valid for three months. The state declared in this context that “a clarification will be given to all the DCOs about the manner of handling these requests, to make it as easy as possible to file requests and receive a response…”. For that purpose, a dedicated form will be introduced and a contact specified for enquiries.

Given this plan, the parties asked the court to delete the petition regarding temporary residents’ travel through Ben Gurion, “while reserving the petitioners’ arguments concerning the plan’s implementation”.

The parties also announced their disagreement regarding international travel of people who hold military stay permits, leaving this issue to be decided by the court.
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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