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In the absence of documentation: HaMoked had to delete its petitions against Israel’s freeze on family unification in the West Bank

For many years now, Israel has been implementing a policy which infringes the right to family life of Palestinian from the West Bank married to foreign nationals. Thus, thousands of foreign spouses live with their families in the West Bank, sometimes for years, as “illegal aliens” in their own home, under constant threat of deportation. Therefore, on November 1, 2018, HaMoked filed a series of petitions on behalf of such couples and their children, requesting that Israel allow the foreign spouse to legalize their status in the framework of a family unification procedure. All the petitions concerned cases where the family unification request was submitted to the Palestinian Authority years ago. It should be noted that Israel insists that requests for status in the oPt – i.e., family unification requests – be submitted to it via the Palestinian Authority and not directly by the applicants. And even when there is written confirmation from the Palestinian Authority that the request was transferred to the Israeli side, the military systematically claims it received no such request.

On June 18, 2019, a panel of three justices heard the first of the petitions. At the end of the hearing, the court accepted the military’s claim about excessive delay on HaMoked’s part, and ruled there was no cause for intervention “as it has not been established that a family unification request was transferred from the Palestinian Authority to Israel”. The court also ruled that “the petitioner can file a new request to the Palestinian Authority… and all its arguments are preserved”.

For the time being, this puts a stop to HaMoked’s attempt to end the ongoing suffering of many families in the West Bank. The remaining petitions were deleted at HaMoked’s request. HaMoked has advised the petitioning families to try and file a new family unification request via the Palestinian Authority. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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