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Israel seeks extension to law banning Palestinian family reunification

June 18, 2021 at 9:59 am

Israel’s Interior Minister and former Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked attends the launch of the political party “Yemina” on 12 August 2019 in the Israeli city of Ramat Gan. [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel’s Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked intends to submit a bill to extend the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law for an additional year.

Shaked called on right-wing opposition parties to back the law, saying that “there is no opposition or coalitions when it comes to issues related to Israel’s security.”

The minister said in a tweet yesterday that she cannot imagine that the opposition “will attempt to harm the security of the country for the sake of political games. I am sure that they will show the required maturity and support the law” that prevents the unification of Arab families if one of the spouses is from the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.

The government coalition blocs were scheduled to submit the bill for a plenary vote yesterday, but they retracted in the absence of a majority guaranteeing the passage of the legislation, after the opposition right-wing blocs, including the Likud and the Religious Zionism party, refrained from backing the bill which they voted for in 2003, in an attempt to obstruct the work of the new government coalition.

The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law was enacted during the second Palestinian Intifada, and it included regulations to restrict the jurisdictions of the Israeli Minister of Interior to grant “citizenship and residence permits in Israel in cases of family reunification,” in addition to “imposing restrictions on granting authorisations to stay in Israel in cases of family reunification,” provided that permits are granted with the approval of the military commander.

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The law provides mechanisms that allow the extension of its validity by government decree, with the approval of the Knesset, for a period not exceeding one year.

Shaked added in her tweet: “I have no doubt that the opposition leader [Benjamin Netanyahu] will keep his word that on issues related to Israeli security ‘there is no opposition, no coalition, in this matter we are all on the same front’.”

Likud MK Miki Zohar had requested the coalition support a law to regulate the status of settler outposts in exchange for the opposition party’s backing of the unification law.

The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law prohibits the entry of Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip into Israel, and prevents Arabs coming from countries that Israel considers hostile, namely Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran, from entering the occupation state territory to be reunited with their families.

The law does not address the issue of entry into Israel to work or receive treatment, but rather focuses mainly on family reunification, and considers all Palestinians as a security threat.