Ministry of Interior demands Palestinian woman married to Israeli resident sever all ties to her two brothers: HaMoked's petition reverses the demand and gets the family unification procedure back on track
In 2003, a family unification application filed by a Palestinian man for his wife was approved. The couple married in 1996 and has been living in Jerusalem. They have five children. Their family unification application was approved at the time despite the fact that the Citizenship and Entry into israel Law (Temporary Order)
had gone into effect, after HaMoked clarified in a petition filed in the matter that the delay in processing had been caused by the State. However, under the provisions of the Law, the woman, originally a West Bank resident, cannot upgrade her status and instead must continue receiving temporary permits to enter Israel (DCO permits) in order to live with her husband, a Jerusalemite and resident of Israel.
On August 27, 2008, about five years after the family unification application was approved, when the wife applied for periodic renewal of her permit, the Ministry of Interior refused
, citing a security threat posed by the relationship she has with her two brothers, regarding whom, the State argued, there was security related information.
On February 11, 2009, an appeal filed by HaMoked on behalf of the woman was rejected. A subsequent application filed to the appellate committee, was partially accepted. The appellate committee decided to return the matter to the Ministry of Interior for reconsideration, and a hearing. After the Ministry of Interior ignored its duty to hold a hearing, HaMoked filed another application to the appellate committee.
On October 25, 2011, the Ministry of Interior responded
, stipulating, for the first time, an odd condition: The woman would receive a DCO permit for a "probationary period" of one year, but only after she and her husband signed an undertaking to sever their ties to the woman's two brothers and one of her brothers-in-law, a man who was never named, and never mentioned before or after that point. During a hearing held by the Ministry of Interior, the woman agreed to pledge she would not take part in any activity that would put Israel's national security at risk. During the review of a third application to the appellate committee filed by HaMoked in the woman's matter, this time when the Ministry of Interior failed to deliver its decision after the hearing, the Ministry of Interior claimed that the woman's renunciation of her relatives' actions "was meaningless without action, such as pledging to sever ties to her brothers". In response, HaMoked said that the requirement to sign such an undertaking was injurious and unjustified, stressing also that it was humiliating, especially for the husband, a permanent resident of Israel, who was not suspected of anything and was not undergoing any sort of probationary process. On January 27, 2013, the appellate committee rejected the application, accepting the position of the Ministry of Interior and describing the ministry's decision as reasonable and proportionate.
On March 14, 2013, HaMoked petitioned the Court for Administrative Affairs
on the couple's behalf. HaMoked argued that in refusing to continue processing the family unification procedure, Israel was violating their right to family life and the rights of their children. HaMoked also argued that the State had acted unreasonably and disproportionately and that the demand the couple declare they were severing all ties to the woman's brothers was humiliating, while the couple had done nothing wrong.
On May 20, 2013, the State notified HaMoked
that it was withdrawing the demand the couple sign an affidavit stating they would sever ties to the woman's brothers and that there was no security impediment to renewing the permit.
The couple's story is just another example of Israel's callousness toward residents of East Jerusalem, and particularly, of the cynical use it makes of "security threats" as an excuse to violate Palestinians' rights. These threats are often revealed as empty, even according to Israel's own security agencies.