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Adalah takes Israel to court for ban on Palestine family reunification

March 14, 2022 at 2:03 pm

People wait around the Israel’s parliament (The Knesset) after the coalition government, led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, failed to pass an extension of the controversial law known as “family reunification”, which targets Palestinian Israeli citizens in Jerusalem on July 06, 2021 [Mostafa Alkharouf – Anadolu Agency]

A petition to Israel’s Supreme Court protesting against the law preventing the reunification of Palestinian families has been filed by the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel (Adalah).

Three attorneys from Adalah submitted the petition yesterday on the basis that it violated fundamental constitutional rights and was contrary to international law, reported Wafa news agency.

On Thursday, the Israeli Knesset re-authorised a law banning Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip who marry Palestinians in Israel from receiving residency in Israel.

“The law’s initiators relied on sweeping determinations that any ‘descendants’ of a Palestinian parent constitute a security threat. They also relied on the prohibited ‘enemy alien’ doctrine, which determines that any individual living in an ‘enemy territory’ is to be considered an enemy,” the petition stated.

While Israel claimed the law – known as the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law – was passed for security reasons, Adalah argues that the law aimed to ensure a Jewish demographic majority, calling it one of the most racist and discriminatory laws in the world.

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“For the first time, the law explicitly states that the ban on Palestinian family unification is intended to serve the Jewish character of the state. The legislators themselves stated that they saw fit to do so, given the 2018 Jewish Nation-State Law,” the petition added.

“Now the Supreme Court will have to decide whether they will continue to allow the state to operate on two separate citizenship tracks based on national and ethnic affiliation under the eternal pretext of temporality.”

The law also prohibits the entry of Arabs from countries “hostile” to Israel, such as Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran, for family reunification purposes.

Rights groups have long warned of the seriousness of the law, which the Israeli government claims was enacted for security reasons. Palestinians consider the law racist.