Center for the Defence of the Individual - Following HaMoked’s petition: the Ministry of Interior agreed to reinstate the unlawfully revoked residency status of a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, and to legalise the status of his children
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

Following HaMoked’s petition: the Ministry of Interior agreed to reinstate the unlawfully revoked residency status of a Palestinian from East Jerusalem, and to legalise the status of his children

On July 16, 2014, HaMoked petitioned the Court for Administrative Affairs to instruct the Ministry of Interior to cancel its decision to revoke the only status in the world held by a Palestinian man who has lived in Jerusalem his entire life – his permanent Israeli residency status. HaMoked asserted that the decision process in this case was flawed throughout and contrary to the Ministry of Interior’s own procedures. HaMoked noted that this erroneous decision also caused the five minor children of the man – from his marriage with a woman from the OPT – to be left without status or rights.

In its response to the petition, dated October 1, 2014, the state held that the petition should be dismissed out of hand due to excessive delay and bad faith. The state claimed that the man already knew in 1997 that his residency had “expired”, but did nothing to regain it for many years. The state also argued that even when he applied to the Ministry of Interior, the man chose to focus on the legality of the “expiration”, and did not address the issue of residency reinstatement, because he was well aware that “his extensive criminal involvement” would be detrimental to him in this context. With respect to the merits of the petition, the state argued that the man’s status had been duly revoked after he had lived for more than seven years in a-Ram neighborhood that borders on Jerusalem, but had not been annexed.

In its brief of merits, submitted October 23, 2014, HaMoked recalled that according to the Ministry of Interior’s policy, the permanent residency of people who had moved to live in neighborhoods lying just outside the municipal boundaries of Jerusalem should not be revoked. Therefore, HaMoked argued, even if the man had lived in a-Ram for a while, it did not justify revoking his status. With respect to the state’s threshold argument about excessive delay, HaMoked stressed that contrary to the Ministry of Interior’s claim, the man had not been given any official notice about the revocation of his status. All that he was told in 1997 – when he came to the ministry’s branch office to have his ID card renewed – was that “there is some problem with the residency”, and that he must provide documents proving his “center of life” in Jerusalem. The man assumed – with good reason – that the demand was made in the context of his ID card renewal application. HaMoked firmly dismissed the state’s bad-faith argument, and even pointed out that contrary to the state’s claim in its response to the petition, the man had no criminal conviction since 2007.

Two days before the hearing, the state announced that its re-inquiry with the police revealed that the man was not under criminal preclusion. Therefore, the state offered to give him temporary status (A/5 type visa) for two years, after which, his permanent Israeli status would be reinstated, provided there was no security or criminal preclusion against him. HaMoked rejected the offer because it did not address the issue of the children’s status. In the hearing held on October 28, 2014, the court suggested an outline whereby the man and his five children would receive temporary status for two years, after which their status would be upgraded to permanent residency, provided that during that period, there was no security or criminal preclusion against the father – otherwise, the children’s status would also be revoked. HaMoked accepted the outline, but the state requested two weeks’ extension to present its position.

On November 11, 2014, the state announced that if the children obtained Jordanian passports, it would grant them B/1 tourist visas (which afford no social security rights) for the first year. In the second year, the children would be eligible for temporary status; and once their father’s status was upgraded, it would be possible to apply to grant them permanent status. HaMoked objected to this, and insisted that the children be granted the same status as their father – which would have been possible if the Ministry of Interior had not revoked the man’s status. HaMoked also objected to the state’s condition that the children be issued with Jordanian passports in order to have their status arranged. HaMoked stressed that the children had been born in Israel and had no connection to Jordan; and expressed concern that the Ministry of Interior might someday exploit the situation (as had happened in the past) to claim that the children acquired foreign status.

In the hearing on November 24, 2014, the parties reached an agreement, which was given the force of judgment, whereby in the first year, the children would receive a B/1 visa without having Jordanian passports, and from the second year on, their status would match that of their father.

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