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Knesset extends law to stop Palestinian families from living together

Last night, the Israeli Knesset extended the temporary “citizenship” law known as the prohibition of family reunification law for Palestinian families.

This racist law prohibits Palestinian families from either side of the Green Line from reunification. It also prohibits Palestinians from inside the Green Line who are married to Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza Strip from living inside Israel with their families unless the Palestinian husband is over 36 years old or if the Palestinian wife is over 26 years old.

The law was extended for a year. Fifty-seven Knesset members voted in favour of the extension, while 20 voted against it and five abstained. It was supported by some members of the Zionist Camp.

The law has been renewed annually based on the recommendations of the Israeli security institution. The Knesset committee decided to make changes to the mechanism for extending the law in the future. It also mandated a joint committee, consisting of a committee from the foreign ministry, security, and the interior ministry, to look into the law and approve it before referring it.

Minister of Interior, Silvan Shalom, said: “The consideration for security dangers is growing in light of the regional and international developments and in light of the increased operations that caused the death of Israelis.”

The Supreme Court rejected a number of complaints filed by human rights organisations to cancel this law which has deprived thousands of Palestinian families from legally living under one roof.

The draft bill was proposed in Ariel Sharon’s first government in 2002 in order to protect the “Jewishness of the state” and prevent Palestinian refugees from returning through the “backdoor”. The law was later passed under the pretext of security, tearing the Palestinian social fabric and Judaising Jerusalem.

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