The “Israeli Ministry of Interior” refuses to consider requests for family unification of Palestinian families

Despite the expiration of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, the Israeli Ministry of Interior still refuses to process requests for Palestinian family unification.

Jerusalem24 – Despite the fall of the Citizenship Law, the Israeli Ministry of Interior refused yesterday, Sunday, to consider requests for Palestinian family unification, as more than 380 applications were submitted in the first week, after the law expired.

HaMoked Center – the Center for the Defense of the Individual demanded that the Minister of Justice cancel her instructions to refrain from processing and considering requests, and publish new instructions on how to submit them.

Despite the expiration of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (the temporary order), the Israeli Ministry of Interior still refuses to process requests for Palestinian family unification.

According to HaMoked,  more than 380 applications for family unification that were submitted to the Israeli Ministry of Interior were not considered during the first week after the law expired, and the reason for this is that the Minister of Interior Ayelet Shaked issued instructions to the Population and Immigration Authority employees not to deal comprehensively with the requests of Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, which are requests for legal status in Israel, until an administrative procedure is elaborated in this regard.

Accordingly, the Hamoked Center, an association that provides legal aid to hundreds of Palestinian families through its participation in the judicial procedures related to family unification, criticized Minister Shaked’s directives, claiming that they aimed at procrastinating. HaMoked expressed his fear that the new procedure being drafted would make it more difficult for the Palestinians to exercise their right than before.

In a joint appeal issued by the Center with the Physicians for Human Rights Association, HaMoked called on the Minister of the Interior, Shaked, and the head of the Population Authority, Professor Shlomo Mor-Yosef, recently, to repeal the directive, which lacks legal basis, and to not consider requests for family unification. The two associations demanded that measures be taken to begin and continue to fully process requests to grant Palestinians legal status, and at an increasing pace, and the two institutions called for the allocation of more resources and manpower for this purpose.

These days, against the backdrop of the lack of clarity regarding the processing of family unification requests, the Hamoked Center published an information paper on submitting requests for family unification and status upgrade requests.

PCHR indicated that Palestinians from the occupied territories, who have held permits to reside in Israel for at least two and a quarter years, are entitled to an upgrade in their status. HaMoked advised all those who are eligible to upgrade their status to submit a request to do so by sending a short and brief message to the Ministry of Interior. It is a message, an example of which can be found on the “Facebook” page of the HaMoked Center.

HaMoked confirmed that applicants who face a problem with the application process are invited to contact the center’s offices through phone number 026283555.

For her part, Jessica Montell, Director-General of the HaMoked Center for the Protection of the Individual, said: “I very much hope that the Knesset will not legislate the law again, and that the era of this discriminatory and racist law that fought HaMoked for two decades is over.”

She continued, “A new window of opportunity has now been created for families who have lived for many years, separately, or under temporary permits.”

“(HaMoked) is working hard to take advantage of this opportunity, so that these families can exercise their right to family life,” Montell said.

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