After a legal battle lasting more than two years: Army announces all Palestinians who have Israeli stay permits and live outside the separation wall will be allowed to enter Israel via the Shu’fat checkpoint
A legal battle fought by HaMoked for more than two years ended in success on December 10, 2014.
In 2012, HaMoked discovered that Palestinians who have Israeli stay-permits granted as part of the family unification procedure and live in Jerusalem neighborhoods that have been left outside the wall surrounding the city, are not permitted to cross into Jerusalem via the Shu’fat checkpoint. HaMoked wrote
to the army explaining that because of this prohibition, Palestinians have to take a detour that significantly extends their commute to their work places, their children’s schools, medical facilities, and in fact, anywhere inside Jerusalem.
In its responses to HaMoked’s repeated inquiries on this matter, the army claimed that the harm caused to the residents was not too serious and that the reason for it was that the Shu’fat checkpoint was not equipped to handle the required security checks. The army also said that residents of Anata who had permits would be able to cross through the Shu’fat checkpoint and that it had “mapped” all the divided families (i.e., families in which one spouse is a resident of Jerusalem and the other a resident of the West Bank) living inside Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries but outside the wall, in order to allow them to cross at the Shu’fat checkpoint, based on lists. HaMoked rejected this so-called solution.
On March 20, 2013, not having received a satisfactory response from the army, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice
, demanding it instruct the army to allow Palestinians living in Jerusalem, but outside the wall, and holding family unification permits, to cross through the Shu’fat checkpoint. HaMoked repeated the arguments it had made in its letters to the army, claiming that the ban was disproportionate and unreasonable, and that it severely violated Palestinians’ rights. HaMoked stressed that the solution suggested by the army, i.e., “mapping” and allowing people to cross according to lists managed by the Shu’fat refugee camp committee was unnecessary, cumbersome and inappropriate.
Reports received by HaMoked in the weeks after the petition was filed suggested that the army had changed its policy and begun allowing people to cross the checkpoint. Although, when HaMoked inquired, the army responded that the matter was still under review. It was only many months later, and a few days before the scheduled hearing of the petition, that the State notified HaMoked that the army had changed its policy and on December 10, 2014, the parties filed a joint motion
to have the petition withdrawn. In the motion, the State announced that the army had decided to allow passage through the Shu’fat checkpoint to anyone holding an Israeli permit given as part of an approved family unification application.