HaMoked has contacted the Ministry of the Interior in an effort to oppose Government Decision No. 2492: According to the decision, Palestinians who have lived in Jerusalem for many years without status will no longer receive permanent status, even if they prove that they have lived in the city since 1967 המוקד להגנת הפרט عر HE wheel chair icon
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29.04.2008
HaMoked has contacted the Ministry of the Interior in an effort to oppose Government Decision No. 2492: According to the decision, Palestinians who have lived in Jerusalem for many years without status will no longer receive permanent status, even if they prove that they have lived in the city since 1967
HaMoked has contacted the Ministry of the Interior in an effort to oppose Government Decision No. 2492: According to the decision, Palestinians who have lived in Jerusalem for many years without status will no longer receive permanent status, even if they prove that they have lived in the city since 1967

On 31 December 2007, an announcement was published in the Al-Quds newspaper calling on residents of the West Bank who have lived in Jerusalem continuously since 31 December 1987 without a permit to submit applications for temporary permits in accordance with Government Decision No. 2492. Following the announcement HaMoked contacted the Ministry of the Interior to object to various aspects of this decision. 

Prior to the current decision by the government, the Ministry of the Interior generally granted permanent residency status to persons who were not included in the population census held in Jerusalem in 1967, but proved that they had lived in the city on a permanent basis prior to the census and continued to live in Jerusalem without interruption thereafter. The present government decision no longer permits this practice; even if these individuals prove that they have lived within Jerusalem since 1967, they will only receive a permit allowing them to enter Jerusalem and remain there temporarily. Moreover, the Ministry of the Interior clarified that the implementation of this decision would apply retroactively to applications for permanent status that have already been submitted. HaMoked argues that the government decision is based on an improper demographic purpose: to prevent the inclusion of non-Jews in the Israeli Population Registry. 

The government decision also arbitrarily establishes that applications for status must be submitted not later than 30 April 2008. The decision details the documents to be attached to the application; the list includes an almost impossibly long list of written proofs, including authorizations showing that the applicants have lived continuously within Jerusalem at least since 1987, among other conditions. In its letter, HaMoked clarified that the demand to furnish documents in order to prove that the applicant’s “center of life” is in Jerusalem is not unreasonable in itself. However, this demand must be proportionate. Proving residence in Jerusalem twenty years after the relevant period may be difficult enough, but to demand the contiguity of the rental contracts for this entire period is unduly harsh for the applicants. HaMoked further argues that the demand to attach an aerial photograph of the place of residence authorized by the Israel Mapping Center is irksome, expensive, and unnecessary. 

In its response to the decision, HaMoked notes that the granting of permanent status in Israel, certainly in cases of this type, should be the interest of the Ministry of the Interior itself. After all, the individuals involved have lived in Jerusalem for over four decades. No-one can question their affinity to the city; in the worse scenario, this affinity has been imposed on them after the Separation Barrier has cut them off from the West Bank. Any state responsible for the well-being of those subject to its control should have an interest in ensuring a modicum of stability by granting status that entitles such residents to social security rights, access to medical treatment, and freedom of movement. 

In its response dated 25 February 2008, the Ministry of the Interior rejected HaMoked’s arguments. Among other points, the ministry claimed that the specification of a last date for the submission of applicants was intended to enable an estimation of the “scope of the phenomenon.” The Ministry of the Interior also claimed that the government decision reflected the approach that the possibility of obtaining permanent status had already been exhausted, and that the state is not obliged to grant permanent status on the basis of residency claims dating back 40 years. 

Regarding the “scope of the phenomenon,” HaMoked emphasizes that this is an extraneous consideration – Israel is using applications from individuals who merely wish to regulate their status in Israel in order to obtain information about the number of people without permits living in Jerusalem. There is reason to fear that this “reason” is indeed the underlying purpose of the government decision. Under the guise of a “humanitarian arrangement,” an attempt is being made here to estimate the “scope of the phenomenon.” Taking into account the numerous documents demanded and the obstacles placed in the way of those seeking a permit, the real intention here is not to grant residency permits but to accumulate as much information as possible from persons present in Israel without a permit. 

HaMoked's concern that Israel plans to implement a “complementary process” concerning those individuals whom the Ministry of the Interior decides are not eligible for permits was heightened by the reply from the Ministry of the Interior dated 7 April 2008. The ministry stated that: “This is a decision based on humanitarian grounds and intended to apply on a one-time basis and for a brief period, and in order to close the matter. Closure of the matter requires attention to all aspects, both regarding those found eligible in accordance with the decision and regarding those found not to be eligible.” 

To view HaMoked’s letter dated 9 January 2008 (Hebrew) 

To view the reply of the Ministry of the Interior dated 25 February 2008 (Hebrew) 

To view the reply of HaMoked dated 1 April 2008 (Hebrew) 

To view the reply of the Ministry of the Interior dated 7 April 2008 (Hebrew)

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On 31 December 2007, an announcement was published in the Al-Quds newspaper calling on residents of the West Bank who have lived in Jerusalem continuously since 31 December 1987 without a permit to submit applications for temporary permits in accordance with Government Decision No. 2492. Following the announcement HaMoked contacted the Ministry of the Interior to object to various aspects of this decision. 

Prior to the current decision by the government, the Ministry of the Interior generally granted permanent residency status to persons who were not included in the population census held in Jerusalem in 1967, but proved that they had lived in the city on a permanent basis prior to the census and continued to live in Jerusalem without interruption thereafter. The present government decision no longer permits this practice; even if these individuals prove that they have lived within Jerusalem since 1967, they will only receive a permit allowing them to enter Jerusalem and remain there temporarily. Moreover, the Ministry of the Interior clarified that the implementation of this decision would apply retroactively to applications for permanent status that have already been submitted. HaMoked argues that the government decision is based on an improper demographic purpose: to prevent the inclusion of non-Jews in the Israeli Population Registry. 

The government decision also arbitrarily establishes that applications for status must be submitted not later than 30 April 2008. The decision details the documents to be attached to the application; the list includes an almost impossibly long list of written proofs, including authorizations showing that the applicants have lived continuously within Jerusalem at least since 1987, among other conditions. In its letter, HaMoked clarified that the demand to furnish documents in order to prove that the applicant’s “center of life” is in Jerusalem is not unreasonable in itself. However, this demand must be proportionate. Proving residence in Jerusalem twenty years after the relevant period may be difficult enough, but to demand the contiguity of the rental contracts for this entire period is unduly harsh for the applicants. HaMoked further argues that the demand to attach an aerial photograph of the place of residence authorized by the Israel Mapping Center is irksome, expensive, and unnecessary. 

In its response to the decision, HaMoked notes that the granting of permanent status in Israel, certainly in cases of this type, should be the interest of the Ministry of the Interior itself. After all, the individuals involved have lived in Jerusalem for over four decades. No-one can question their affinity to the city; in the worse scenario, this affinity has been imposed on them after the Separation Barrier has cut them off from the West Bank. Any state responsible for the well-being of those subject to its control should have an interest in ensuring a modicum of stability by granting status that entitles such residents to social security rights, access to medical treatment, and freedom of movement. 

In its response dated 25 February 2008, the Ministry of the Interior rejected HaMoked’s arguments. Among other points, the ministry claimed that the specification of a last date for the submission of applicants was intended to enable an estimation of the “scope of the phenomenon.” The Ministry of the Interior also claimed that the government decision reflected the approach that the possibility of obtaining permanent status had already been exhausted, and that the state is not obliged to grant permanent status on the basis of residency claims dating back 40 years. 

Regarding the “scope of the phenomenon,” HaMoked emphasizes that this is an extraneous consideration – Israel is using applications from individuals who merely wish to regulate their status in Israel in order to obtain information about the number of people without permits living in Jerusalem. There is reason to fear that this “reason” is indeed the underlying purpose of the government decision. Under the guise of a “humanitarian arrangement,” an attempt is being made here to estimate the “scope of the phenomenon.” Taking into account the numerous documents demanded and the obstacles placed in the way of those seeking a permit, the real intention here is not to grant residency permits but to accumulate as much information as possible from persons present in Israel without a permit. 

HaMoked's concern that Israel plans to implement a “complementary process” concerning those individuals whom the Ministry of the Interior decides are not eligible for permits was heightened by the reply from the Ministry of the Interior dated 7 April 2008. The ministry stated that: “This is a decision based on humanitarian grounds and intended to apply on a one-time basis and for a brief period, and in order to close the matter. Closure of the matter requires attention to all aspects, both regarding those found eligible in accordance with the decision and regarding those found not to be eligible.” 

To view HaMoked’s letter dated 9 January 2008 (Hebrew) 

To view the reply of the Ministry of the Interior dated 25 February 2008 (Hebrew) 

To view the reply of HaMoked dated 1 April 2008 (Hebrew) 

To view the reply of the Ministry of the Interior dated 7 April 2008 (Hebrew)

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