HaMoked has submitted a petition to enable the change of address in the Population Registry of four children who were born in the Ramallah area, where they continue to live: Due to an error, the children’s place of residence in the copy of the Palestinian Population Registry held by Israel appears as Rafah in the Gaza Strip. The military’s refusal to respond to HaMoked’s requests and correct the error places the children in constant danger of deportation from their home המוקד להגנת הפרט
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24.03.2008
HaMoked has submitted a petition to enable the change of address in the Population Registry of four children who were born in the Ramallah area, where they continue to live: Due to an error, the children’s place of residence in the copy of the Palestinian Population Registry held by Israel appears as Rafah in the Gaza Strip. The military’s refusal to respond to HaMoked’s requests and correct the error places the children in constant danger of deportation from their home
HaMoked has submitted a petition to enable the change of address in the Population Registry of four children who were born in the Ramallah area, where they continue to live: Due to an error, the children’s place of residence in the copy of the Palestinian Population Registry held by Israel appears as Rafah in the Gaza Strip. The military’s refusal to respond to HaMoked’s requests and correct the error places the children in constant danger of deportation from their home

On 13 March 2008 HaMoked filed a petition on behalf of four children who were born in Ramallah and live in the area. Despite this, the copy of the Palestinian Population Registry held by Israel erroneously states that their place of residence is in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. The mistake was discovered when the children’s father asked to register a change of address within the West Bank. The family submitted a request to correct the error and change the children’s place of residence to Ramallah, but this was not done. 

In the Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (“the Oslo Accord,”) authorities relating to the management of the Population Registry for residents of the Territories were transferred to the Palestinian Authority, including the authority to register children and update the registered address. In order to ensure that Israel would hold an accurate copy of the Palestinian Population Registry, it was established that the Palestinian Authority must update the Israeli side retroactively regarding any change to the registry. Despite this, the determining version was the registry as held by the Palestinian Authority. It should be noted that the Oslo Accord does not make any particular reference to changes of address between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, in accordance with the basic principle established in the agreement that both areas constitute a single territorial unit. 

In 2000 Israel decided to “freeze” the updating of addresses between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in its copy of the Palestinian Population Registry, as part of the general effort to seperate between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The information recorded in the Population Registry at the time was not inspected or examined, but was frozen as it was, without any possibility to change or correct it or to challenge its accuracy. Following the freezing by Israel of its copy of the Population Registry, Palestinians whose addresses were updated only in the original Palestinian Registry encountered serious problems. Accordingly, the Palestinian side had no alternative but to halt the updating of the original registry. 

As for the children who are the Petitioners in this case, HaMoked first contacted the Respondent’s legal advisor and requested that the mistake in the registration be corrected. After a long delay, the legal advisor replied that updates in the registry are received from the Palestinian Authority; accordingly, the Petitioners must address their claims to the Palestinian Authority. This position ignores the fact that there is no error in the Palestinian Registry, where the Petitioners’ address appears correctly as in the Ramallah district. After HaMoked reiterated that the error occurs only in the Israeli version (submitting a letter from the deputy director of the Palestinian Civilian Committee detailing its requests to the Israeli side on this matter, as well as a copy of these requests), the legal advisor replied that the requests “are not grounded and do not clarify why this constitutes an error requiring correction.” 

The Respondents did not present any security arguments supporting their policy of freezing the updating of the Population Registry in general or the amendment of the erroneous registration of the four children in particular. HaMoked emphasizes in the petition that the function of the registry clerk is technical and his or her discretion is limited. The Population Registry is merely a statistical and documentary tool, and it should not be used as a means of determining or restricting substantive rights. 

On 13 April 2008 the Court issued an interim order forbidding the removal of the children from the West Bank until a ruling is given in the petition. 

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On 13 March 2008 HaMoked filed a petition on behalf of four children who were born in Ramallah and live in the area. Despite this, the copy of the Palestinian Population Registry held by Israel erroneously states that their place of residence is in Rafah in the Gaza Strip. The mistake was discovered when the children’s father asked to register a change of address within the West Bank. The family submitted a request to correct the error and change the children’s place of residence to Ramallah, but this was not done. 

In the Interim Agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (“the Oslo Accord,”) authorities relating to the management of the Population Registry for residents of the Territories were transferred to the Palestinian Authority, including the authority to register children and update the registered address. In order to ensure that Israel would hold an accurate copy of the Palestinian Population Registry, it was established that the Palestinian Authority must update the Israeli side retroactively regarding any change to the registry. Despite this, the determining version was the registry as held by the Palestinian Authority. It should be noted that the Oslo Accord does not make any particular reference to changes of address between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, in accordance with the basic principle established in the agreement that both areas constitute a single territorial unit. 

In 2000 Israel decided to “freeze” the updating of addresses between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank in its copy of the Palestinian Population Registry, as part of the general effort to seperate between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The information recorded in the Population Registry at the time was not inspected or examined, but was frozen as it was, without any possibility to change or correct it or to challenge its accuracy. Following the freezing by Israel of its copy of the Population Registry, Palestinians whose addresses were updated only in the original Palestinian Registry encountered serious problems. Accordingly, the Palestinian side had no alternative but to halt the updating of the original registry. 

As for the children who are the Petitioners in this case, HaMoked first contacted the Respondent’s legal advisor and requested that the mistake in the registration be corrected. After a long delay, the legal advisor replied that updates in the registry are received from the Palestinian Authority; accordingly, the Petitioners must address their claims to the Palestinian Authority. This position ignores the fact that there is no error in the Palestinian Registry, where the Petitioners’ address appears correctly as in the Ramallah district. After HaMoked reiterated that the error occurs only in the Israeli version (submitting a letter from the deputy director of the Palestinian Civilian Committee detailing its requests to the Israeli side on this matter, as well as a copy of these requests), the legal advisor replied that the requests “are not grounded and do not clarify why this constitutes an error requiring correction.” 

The Respondents did not present any security arguments supporting their policy of freezing the updating of the Population Registry in general or the amendment of the erroneous registration of the four children in particular. HaMoked emphasizes in the petition that the function of the registry clerk is technical and his or her discretion is limited. The Population Registry is merely a statistical and documentary tool, and it should not be used as a means of determining or restricting substantive rights. 

On 13 April 2008 the Court issued an interim order forbidding the removal of the children from the West Bank until a ruling is given in the petition. 

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