After a lengthy battle: children from the Wadi Hummus neighborhood will receive status outside the temporary order
Wadi Hummus is a neighborhood in the village of Sur Bahir which is located south-east of Jerusalem. In 1967, Israel annexed the village and most of its land, arbitrarily leaving out about a tenth of it, including the area where Wadi Hummus was built. The route of the separation wall Israel planned around Jerusalem threatened to divide Sur Bahir in two, leaving Wadi Hummus to the east of the wall. Following an HCJ petition filed by village residents, in 2003, the state acknowledged that the village was a "single organic community" and changed the route of the wall so that it would remain intact. Thus, all residents of Sur Bahir, including those living in Wadi Hummus were left on the western, "Israeli", side of the wall. In 2005, the National Insurance Institute conceded that the National Insurance Law and the National Health Insurance Law applied to the neighborhood's residents.
In November 2005, a resident of Sur Bahir asked to have his children registered as residents of Israel. Some 18 months later, the Ministry of Interior rejected his application, claiming that the family did not reside in Israel since their home was in Wadi Hummus.
In July 2008, the father again contacted the Ministry of the Interior, asking to have his children registered. After no response was received, HaMoked contacted the Foreign Nationals' Appeals Committee, an internal body within the Ministry of Interior. HaMoked argued that the applicants were the children of a permanent resident, that they had been born in Israel and that their center-of-life was in the country. HaMoked noted that while the family's home was located about 250 meters outside Jerusalem's city limits, it was on the western side of the separation wall, which cut it off from the West Bank. HaMoked also noted that the family received its education and health services in Israel, that it conducted its social life in the country and that it was receiving electricity and phone services from Israeli providers.
In 2009, the father's application for family unification with his wife, the mother of the children and a resident of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, was added to the appeal that was before the committee. The Ministry of Interior agreed not to remove the family from Israel until the appeal was decided and that the appeal would be reviewed after judgment was issued in two appeals filed in 2009 to the Supreme Court. The latter cases addressed the right of Israeli residents living in Wadi Hummus to apply for status for their spouses and children.
In June 2009, as part of the review of one of the aforesaid court cases, the Supreme Court justices ruled
that it was not possible to grant status in Israel to individuals who lived outside it. However, the court did recognize the complexity of the situation and instructed the parties to negotiate a solution. Following this decision, the family in question moved from Wadi Hummus to another neighborhood in the village, inside Jerusalem's municipal border and the Ministry of Interior agreed to grant the children status in Israel in an arrangement that was outside the severely restrictive confines of the temporary order
In August 2010, the family discussed in this update also moved to a different neighborhood in Sur Bahir, inside the annexed part of the village. After the move, HaMoked and the Interior Ministry reached an understanding whereby the family's matter would be resolved in an arrangement similar to the one reached in the 2009 court case. In July 2013, after many more delays on the part of the ministry, the mother received an Israeli stay-permit and the children received temporary status for a year, for the purpose of continued monitoring of the family's residence in Israel.