Urgent petition to the HCJ: instruct the authorities not to deport from her home a widow and mother of six who has been living in Israel since 1995 pending a decision on her application for status in Israel המוקד להגנת הפרט
21.08.2013
Urgent petition to the HCJ: instruct the authorities not to deport from her home a widow and mother of six who has been living in Israel since 1995 pending a decision on her application for status in Israel
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In 1994, a Palestinian from the West Bank married a permanent resident of Israel. A few months later, she moved to live with her husband in East Jerusalem and has been living there ever since. Over the years the couple had six children, the youngest is now five, the eldest seventeen, all of them are residents of Israel.

The husband and father, who suffered from alcohol and drug addictions, had for many years neglected the issue of his wife's status in Israel, and only in 2006, filed an application for family unification with her. The Ministry of Interior accepted the application in 2012, and the woman received a renewable permit for staying in Israel.

In January 2013, the husband passed away. Under the interior-ministry procedure, the death of the Israeli resident terminates the family unification process and the Israeli stay permit is taken from the foreign spouse. Thus, the woman found herself having to care for six minor children, without status in Israel. In March 28, 2013, HaMoked appealed on her behalf to the Humanitarian Committee under the Citizenship and Entry into Israel (the Temporary Order) to grant her status in Israel, and also requested the interior ministry to extend her Israeli stay permit pending the decision of the humanitarian committee. The interior ministry refused the request to extend the validity of her stay permit, and the woman was left without status in Israel.

On August 18, 2013, near Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, border police officers detained her and asked her to present identification. The woman showed them a document from HaMoked stating it was handling her case for legal status in Israel. After she was kept there for three hours, the woman was taken in a patrol car to the headquarters of the border police in Atarot, where she was interrogated and was released with an order to return on the following day with a document proving she was legally present in Israel. On the following day, the woman arrived and presented an official document from the interior ministry regarding her ongoing humanitarian application. The police made a telephone inquiry to the interior ministry, and was informed by the latter that the woman was illegally present in Israel and should be deported. Only after she pleaded and explained that she was the only one taking care of her six minor children, did the police officers tell her that she had to arrive again in three days time with a court order or court judgment, otherwise she would be expelled from her home.

On August 20, 2013, HaMoked filed an urgent petition to the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to instruct the police not to deport the woman from Israel pending the decision of the Humanitarian Committee. HaMoked also demanded that the Humanitarian Committee urgently decide on the woman's application for status in Israel, submitted already five months before.

HaMoked asserted that given the humanitarian circumstances of the woman and her children and the fact that there was no security or criminal allegation against her – she should not be deported from Israel. HaMoked added that the interior ministry's procedures discriminate against widows from the OPT whose family-unification process was terminated, in comparison to widows from elsewhere in a similar situation, who apply to stay in Israel through another committee – the Interministerial Committee for Granting Status on Humanitarian Grounds – who, under the applicable procedure, cannot be deported from Israel while their application is being considered by the Interministerial Committee. However, despite the identical rational behind such humanitarian applications, and the need to allow such applicants to wait the decision without fear of deportation, OPT widows are not protected from deportation.

Despite the extreme distress of the woman and children, the Court opted not to issue an order against her deportation pending a decision in her case. Justice Danziger made no substantive decision in the case and pronounced that "Presumably, pending a decision on how to proceed in the case, the Respondents will not take irreversible steps."
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