After two challenges against administrative decisions and two court petitions: the court instructs the Ministry of Interior to grant the son of an East Jerusalem resident Israeli stay-permits
In 1989, a resident of Israel married a resident of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Over the years, they had five children. The Ministry of Interior rejected the wife's applications, filed in 1997 and 2006, for family unification with her husband and for the registration of her children. In 2008, the woman filed another application for grant of status in Israel to the family members. It was approved. The husband and the four younger children received the required documents, but the application for the eldest son, which had also been approved initially, was ultimately denied on criminal grounds. As a result, the eldest son lived with his family in Jerusalem, without rights and without legal status. He had great difficulties with employment, his social life and his daily affairs.
For three years the Ministry of Interior handled the application in a way that can only be described as outrageous - first delaying processing for an inordinate period of time, then notifying the family that the application was approved, only to later state that the ministry was temporarily unable to approve the application, then saying it had been denied, only to retreat to the position that the ministry was contemplating refusal - three years that ended with the application being refused. HaMoked began the process of appealing the refusal, arguing that it was improper and unlawful (after earlier petitioning the court due to the great delay in the ministry's processing). However, the Committee for Appeals by Foreign Nationals - an internal committee within the Ministry of Interior that reviews the ministry's decisions, did not overturn the refusal. The committee's decision relied on classified intelligence information with respect to which the son had never been tried or even interrogated. The committee entirely disregarded the fact that the application was filed by his mother when he was still a minor or to the great difficulties he has had leading a life in Israel.
On February 21, 2013, HaMoked petitioned the court
seeking to compel the Ministry of Interior to retract the refusal and grant the eldest son status in Israel. HaMoked argued that the ministry's decision violated the right to family life, the principle of the child's best interest and the right to human dignity and that it was unreasonable, unfair and disproportionate. HaMoked noted that the son had been convicted of selling a miniscule quantity of drugs, for which he served a nine-month prison sentence, stressing a child should not be torn away from his home and family for any and all criminal offenses regardless of their severity. A decision with such serious ramifications must be based on substantial, solid and current information. In its response to the petition, the Ministry of Interior repeated its position stating that the son "poses a danger to public safety", based on his conviction and the classified information.
On July 4, 2013, after a hearing during which the judge was presented with classified material, ex parte, the Jerusalem District Court accepted the petition in part
. The judge ruled that the ministry's decision "to prevent the Petitioner from filing an application for legal status in Israel" for many years would "yield a very grave result for the Petitioner […] a very grave result for his family. We recall that what is at issue are parents and four siblings who all have status in Israel, and an application that was filed back in 2008, when the Petitioner was still a minor, and before he engaged in any type of criminal activity". The judge added that "in the overall circumstances before me, the Respondent [the Ministry of Interior] could have selected a more proportionate alternative than harming the Petitioner and his family, their right to maintain the integrity of the family unit and the best interest of the child". The court ruled that the eldest son would receive a permit to remain in Israel "outside the process" for two years (subject to refraining from any criminal activity), whereupon the Ministry of Interior would reconsider the original application.
Sixteen years after the initial application for family unification and child registration was filed, and after a five-year legal battle, the young man will finally be able to live in his home, with his nuclear family - lawfully.