“The High Court Failed to Uphold Basic Human Rights”

The Supreme Court, photo by Melanie Takefman

Last night (11 January 2012), a bundle of four high court petitions against the “Citizenship Law” were rejected in their second round by the Israeli High Court of Justice. This law denies status in Israel to Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens. The four petitions were submitted by MK Zahava Gal-On, ACRI, Adalah, and Hamoked. The High Court rejected the petitions with a 6 to 5 majority. Last night’s ruling occurred after a similar first-round ruling in May 2006.
Following this ruling, attorneys Dan Yakir and Oded Feller from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI): “It is a dark day for the protection of human rights and for the Israeli High Court of Justice. The court has failed to uphold basic human rights in the face of the tyranny of the Knesset majority. The majority opinion has stamped its approval on a racist law, one that will harm the very texture of the lives of families whose only sin is the Palestinian blood that runs in their veins.”
Following questions we have been receiving, ACRI attorney Oded Feller explains the implications of this ruling:
Palestinians living in Israel with temporary permits or as temporary residents have achieved their status according to the law and not because of the ongoing High Court hearings. The HCJ ruling has not annulled the law, and therefore this arrangement continues. That is, persons who have received temporary permits or a temporary residency will continue to enjoy their current status.

  • The law prohibits Palestinian residents of the West Bank from receiving permanent residency in Israel or an Israeli citizenship.
  • The law stipulates that a Palestinian resident of the West Bank or Gaza, who has received a temporary permit or temporary residency before the law has been enacted, will be able to continue renewing his or her status, as long as there is no security issue related to this person or the person’s family. However, such persons will not be able to upgrade their status to a permanent residency or to an Israeli citizenship.
  • The law states that a man from the West Bank over the age of 35 and a woman from the West Bank over the age of 25, married to Israeli citizens, could receive a permit for staying in Israel, which must be renewed from time to time, as long as there is no security issue, but cannot be upgraded.
  • The law stipulates that residents of the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, or Iraq – of any age – are not allowed to acquire any status in Israel, neither temporary nor permanent.
  • The law sets special arrangements for children and for humanitarian reasons (marriage, in and of itself, is not a humanitarian reason), as long as there is no security issue related to this person or the person’s family.

To read the High Court ruling (in Hebrew).
To read ACRI’s petition (in Hebrew)

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Categories: Arab Citizens of Israel, Citizenship and Residency, Family Unifications, Racism and Discrimination, The Occupied Territories, The Right to Equality, The Right to Family

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