HaMoked requests an additional hearing on the Supreme Court judgment in AAA 1966/09: the appeal judgment determined that the two children of a Jerusalem resident living in Wadi Hummus will not receive status in Israel, thereby leaving them without status anywhere in the world המוקד להגנת הפרט
23.11.2011
HaMoked requests an additional hearing on the Supreme Court judgment in AAA 1966/09: the appeal judgment determined that the two children of a Jerusalem resident living in Wadi Hummus will not receive status in Israel, thereby leaving them without status anywhere in the world
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Background
In 1967, the village of Sur Bahir was annexed to Jerusalem and its residents received status in Israel. However, some of the lands belonging to the village remained outside Jerusalem city limits. The Wadi Hummus neighborhood was on these lands.

Israel’s initial route for the separation wall around Jerusalem was set to arbitrarily split Sur Bahir in two, leaving Wadi Hummus on the east – “Palestinian” – side of the wall. In a petition filed by residents of the neighborhood against the route, the state acknowledged that Sur Bahir was “a single organic community” and changed the route such that it remained united and all its residents, including those living in Wadi Hummus were left on the west – “Israeli” – side of the wall.

In 2008, HaMoked petitioned the court on behalf of a permanent Israeli resident who lives in Wadi Hummus to instruct the Ministry of Interior to register his two children in the Israeli population registry. The Ministry of Interior refused to do so solely because the family lives in the Wadi Hummus neighborhood which is located outside Jerusalem’s official city limits. The children have remained without status, social and medical rights and live in constant fear of the authorities. In the petition, HaMoked claimed that the children’s center-of-life had always been in Jerusalem and therefore they should be registered, like their nine siblings, under Regulation 12 of the Entry into Israel Regulations. The court rejected the petition, ruling that the family lives outside Israel’s sovereign territory and therefore its center-of-life is not in Israel and the children do not come under Regulation 12.

The appeal

HaMoked appealed the judgment to the Supreme Court. One of the arguments made in the appeal was that the decision that the children’s center-of-life was not in Israel was unreasonable considering the circumstances following the erection of the separation wall, which trapped them on its “Israeli” side. These very circumstances led the state itself to recognize that the Wadi Hummus neighborhood was an integral part of Sur Bahir. HaMoked added that the court had erred in its interpretation and implementation of Regulation 12 which seeks to prevent substantive breaches of the child’s best interest.

On November 22, 2011, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal by majority opinion. Justices Levy and Grunis decided to leave the children without status. In the judgment, the Justices ignore the complex reality of Wadi Hummus and, contrary to the ruling in ‘Aweisat, interpret the purpose of Regulation 12 narrowly, such that a person whose home is not in Israel cannot receive status in the country. The Justices rely on the State’s argument regarding the “broad ramifications” of granting the children status, though this argument was not substantiated.

In a minority opinion, Supreme Court President Beinisch accepted the Appellants’ arguments. In her judgment, the President holds that the separation wall built by Israel has entirely separated Wadi Hummus from the West Bank and created a situation where “the Appellants’ center-of-life is practically inside Israel”. The President adds that “leaving the Appellants’ with no status whatsoever is inconsistent with the protected values which underlie Regulation 12, including the principle of the child’s best interest”. President Beinisch recalls that the state acknowledges Sur Bahir is a single organic unit and considers all its residents, including those living in Wadi Hummus, as coming under the National Insurance Law and the Public Health Insurance Law.

Conclusion

Israel built a wall which separates East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. This wall has trapped Palestinians on its “Israeli” side, against their best interest and the state refuses to acknowledge them as entitled to status, leaving them without social and medical rights. HaMoked regrets the judgment of the Supreme Court. President Beinisch best describes the situation in her opinion: “A situation such as this, in which the children lack status both in the Area and in Israel is improper; […] It is clear that a reality in which children and parents in a single family unit have a different status may interfere with the stability and balance necessary for creating a stable family unit as well as with the minor child’s proper development.”

On December 7, HaMoked petitioned the Supreme Court, requesting another hearing on the children's appeal, before an expanded panel .

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