Following HaMoked's petition, the Ministry of Interior recants: the children of an East Jerusalem resident, the widow of a Gaza Palestinian, will receive Israeli stay permits as part of the procedure for acquiring Israeli status המוקד להגנת הפרט
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24.07.2011
Following HaMoked's petition, the Ministry of Interior recants: the children of an East Jerusalem resident, the widow of a Gaza Palestinian, will receive Israeli stay permits as part of the procedure for acquiring Israeli status
Following HaMoked's petition, the Ministry of Interior recants: the children of an East Jerusalem resident, the widow of a Gaza Palestinian, will receive Israeli stay permits as part of the procedure for acquiring Israeli status

Background
A permanent resident from East Jerusalem married a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip. The couple had four children and the family resettled in Gaza. During the war in Gaza, in January 2009, the husband was killed. Following his death, the wife, and more so, the children, came to live under the violent tyranny of the deceased's family. Having lost all her ties and means of support in Gaza, the woman decided to return to her home in Jerusalem and raise her children there.

Several months after she was widowed, the woman applied for Israeli legal status for her children. The Ministry of Interior rejected the application for two main reasons. First, contrary to the internal procedure for granting status to a child with only one Israeli resident parent – which lists among the approval criteria that both parent and child maintain their “center of life” in Israel for a period of two years – “center of life” of the family was in Gaza. Second, the refusal was followed the Government Resolution of June 2008, announcing that the Gaza Strip is an area where activity is taking place which may endanger the security of Israel, and therefore a permit for residency in Israel may not be granted to persons living in Gaza or whose registered address is in Gaza. The interior ministry "advised" the mother to appeal to the humanitarian committee dealing with this issue. HaMoked's objection to the refusal and its appeal to the Appellate Committee for Foreigners were both rejected.

The petition
On February 13, 2011, HaMoked filed an administrative petition to instruct the Ministry of Interior to grant the children Israeli status. HaMoked argued the interior ministry was preventing the realization of the natural right of an Israeli resident and her children to live in her native city and also violating the right to family life and the principle of the child's best interest, recognized under Israeli and international law alike.

In the petition, HaMoked detailed its arguments against the position of the Ministry of Interior. HaMoked contended that the internal procedure cited by the ministry, is used to verify the applicant intends to settle in Israel, however, the intent to settle in Israel is clearly manifest in this case, in the petitioner's unique and extraordinary circumstances as a single parent who only has ties of her own to Jerusalem. The Ministry of Interior refuses to apply discretion, and blindly applies the procedure, thus prevents an Israeli resident from fulfilling her fundamental rights. Furthermore, the mother is incapable of meeting the procedural requirement, and she is left in a hopeless position – desperate to return with her children to Jerusalem, but unable to legally bring them to Israel. Hence, the family's unique circumstances are sufficient to justify the interior ministry make an exception and accept firm resolve of the family to settle in Israel. Regarding the second cause for the refusal – the government resolution regarding the Gaza Strip and its population – HaMoked argued that the prohibition on granting Israeli status, contained in the resolution, does not apply to minors under 14, and except the eldest, the petitioner's children were all under age 14 when the application for their registration was filed. HaMoked further asserted that the humanitarian committee to which the ministry had referred the family, was not a suitable alternative, as it was unauthorized to grant the permanent status to which the children were entitled.

Conclusion
In the hearing held in the Jerusalem District Court, Judge Yoram Noam criticized the state for causing a separation between a mother and her children or conversely, forcing them to become illegal aliens in Israel in order to meet the "center of life" requirement.

On June 21, 2011, following the judge's comments, the Ministry of Interior announced that "on an ex gratia basis, and in view of the circumstances" the three younger children will receive Israel stay permits for one year, to enable them to prove their center of life therein. Thereupon, the children will be granted a two year temporary status, following which they will be able to apply for permanent residency. The eldest son will be granted a six month stay permit, after undergoing an interrogation by the Israel Security Service. In his case, given that on the filing date of the application he was an adult, an application should be made to the humanitarian committee.

HaMoked requested the court to delete the petition, expressing hope that in future cases, the Ministry of Interior would exert discretion, integrate the lessons from the petition, and would consider the circumstances of each case on its merits.

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Background
A permanent resident from East Jerusalem married a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip. The couple had four children and the family resettled in Gaza. During the war in Gaza, in January 2009, the husband was killed. Following his death, the wife, and more so, the children, came to live under the violent tyranny of the deceased's family. Having lost all her ties and means of support in Gaza, the woman decided to return to her home in Jerusalem and raise her children there.

Several months after she was widowed, the woman applied for Israeli legal status for her children. The Ministry of Interior rejected the application for two main reasons. First, contrary to the internal procedure for granting status to a child with only one Israeli resident parent – which lists among the approval criteria that both parent and child maintain their “center of life” in Israel for a period of two years – “center of life” of the family was in Gaza. Second, the refusal was followed the Government Resolution of June 2008, announcing that the Gaza Strip is an area where activity is taking place which may endanger the security of Israel, and therefore a permit for residency in Israel may not be granted to persons living in Gaza or whose registered address is in Gaza. The interior ministry "advised" the mother to appeal to the humanitarian committee dealing with this issue. HaMoked's objection to the refusal and its appeal to the Appellate Committee for Foreigners were both rejected.

The petition
On February 13, 2011, HaMoked filed an administrative petition to instruct the Ministry of Interior to grant the children Israeli status. HaMoked argued the interior ministry was preventing the realization of the natural right of an Israeli resident and her children to live in her native city and also violating the right to family life and the principle of the child's best interest, recognized under Israeli and international law alike.

In the petition, HaMoked detailed its arguments against the position of the Ministry of Interior. HaMoked contended that the internal procedure cited by the ministry, is used to verify the applicant intends to settle in Israel, however, the intent to settle in Israel is clearly manifest in this case, in the petitioner's unique and extraordinary circumstances as a single parent who only has ties of her own to Jerusalem. The Ministry of Interior refuses to apply discretion, and blindly applies the procedure, thus prevents an Israeli resident from fulfilling her fundamental rights. Furthermore, the mother is incapable of meeting the procedural requirement, and she is left in a hopeless position – desperate to return with her children to Jerusalem, but unable to legally bring them to Israel. Hence, the family's unique circumstances are sufficient to justify the interior ministry make an exception and accept firm resolve of the family to settle in Israel. Regarding the second cause for the refusal – the government resolution regarding the Gaza Strip and its population – HaMoked argued that the prohibition on granting Israeli status, contained in the resolution, does not apply to minors under 14, and except the eldest, the petitioner's children were all under age 14 when the application for their registration was filed. HaMoked further asserted that the humanitarian committee to which the ministry had referred the family, was not a suitable alternative, as it was unauthorized to grant the permanent status to which the children were entitled.

Conclusion
In the hearing held in the Jerusalem District Court, Judge Yoram Noam criticized the state for causing a separation between a mother and her children or conversely, forcing them to become illegal aliens in Israel in order to meet the "center of life" requirement.

On June 21, 2011, following the judge's comments, the Ministry of Interior announced that "on an ex gratia basis, and in view of the circumstances" the three younger children will receive Israel stay permits for one year, to enable them to prove their center of life therein. Thereupon, the children will be granted a two year temporary status, following which they will be able to apply for permanent residency. The eldest son will be granted a six month stay permit, after undergoing an interrogation by the Israel Security Service. In his case, given that on the filing date of the application he was an adult, an application should be made to the humanitarian committee.

HaMoked requested the court to delete the petition, expressing hope that in future cases, the Ministry of Interior would exert discretion, integrate the lessons from the petition, and would consider the circumstances of each case on its merits.

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