The HCJ to the State: it is unreasonable to compel lifelong inhabitants of the West Bank – from birth or infancy – to live there pursuant to renewable stay permits, like foreigners in their own land המוקד להגנת הפרט
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29.10.2015
The HCJ to the State: it is unreasonable to compel lifelong inhabitants of the West Bank – from birth or infancy – to live there pursuant to renewable stay permits, like foreigners in their own land
The HCJ to the State: it is unreasonable to compel lifelong inhabitants of the West Bank – from birth or infancy – to live there pursuant to renewable stay permits, like foreigners in their own land
On January 23, 2013, HaMoked filed two petitions to the High Court of Justice (HCJ), in a bid to compel Israel to update the address listings of a young woman and a young man whose official addresses in Israeli records are in Gaza, whereas in fact both have been living in the West Bank Qalqiliya District since infancy; both had moved there after the Oslo Accord signing and before the second intifada erupted – a period when Israel officially recognized the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as two parts of a single integral unit. But Israel refused to amend addresses in its copy of the Palestinian population registry and continued to view the two as listed in Gaza. Moreover, Israel demanded that they undergo a “settlement procedure”, lasting seven years, during which their life in the West Bank – the only home they know – would be regulated pursuant to renewable stay permits – as foreigners in their own land. This, under a procedure that was instituted years after the two had moved to the West Bank. HaMoked strongly opposed the idea of subjecting the youths to the “settlement procedure”, because this was not a case of applicants seeking to relocate from Gaza to the West Bank, but people who were practically lifelong inhabitants of the West Bank. Therefore, HaMoked asserted, the youths’ official addresses in the Israeli copy of the Palestinian population registry, must be amended without delay.

During the court hearing, held on October 28, 2015, the state recalled that about a year before, it had agreed to shorten the length of the “settlement procedure” in this case from seven years to three; thus in effect, still insisting on regulating the youths’ life in the West bank with permits. The state also noted that under its undertaking, given in the context of HCJ 4019/10, Palestinians who had relocated from Gaza to the West Bank before September 2005, were no longer threatened by deportation to Gaza. However, the court held that the state’s proposal was inadequate, and urged the state to consider a shortened route for updating the youths’ official addresses, whereby the state would exempt the youths from the need for stay permits and set them a waiting period, following which – subject to the absence of security or criminal preclusion – it would change their official addresses in its registry copy to the West Bank. This, given their long years of residence in the West Bank, which made it inconceivable that one fine day they should find themselves in the status of foreigners.

HaMoked demanded that the address of both youths be updated immediately from Gaza to the West Bank, without compelling them to wait for three years, while at the mercy of the military bureaucracy, liable to be stopped and questioned on their place of residence every time they crossed one of the many checkpoints in the West Bank. HaMoked also asserted that it was unreasonable for the state to apply a new policy retroactively and thus, overnight, turn people who had been living in the West Bank their entire lives into “illegal aliens”.

In its decision, issued October 28, 2015, the court ruled that “following our comments, the state will examine the possibility that the petitioners would not be given renewable stay permits, and after an additional period to be set by the Respondent according to the special circumstances of each of the petitioners, the petitioners would be registered in the population registry file in Judea and Samaria in their current residence address in the Area”. The court gave the state 60 days to submit its supplemental notice, followed by 30 days, during which HaMoked may submit its response.
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On January 23, 2013, HaMoked filed two petitions to the High Court of Justice (HCJ), in a bid to compel Israel to update the address listings of a young woman and a young man whose official addresses in Israeli records are in Gaza, whereas in fact both have been living in the West Bank Qalqiliya District since infancy; both had moved there after the Oslo Accord signing and before the second intifada erupted – a period when Israel officially recognized the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as two parts of a single integral unit. But Israel refused to amend addresses in its copy of the Palestinian population registry and continued to view the two as listed in Gaza. Moreover, Israel demanded that they undergo a “settlement procedure”, lasting seven years, during which their life in the West Bank – the only home they know – would be regulated pursuant to renewable stay permits – as foreigners in their own land. This, under a procedure that was instituted years after the two had moved to the West Bank. HaMoked strongly opposed the idea of subjecting the youths to the “settlement procedure”, because this was not a case of applicants seeking to relocate from Gaza to the West Bank, but people who were practically lifelong inhabitants of the West Bank. Therefore, HaMoked asserted, the youths’ official addresses in the Israeli copy of the Palestinian population registry, must be amended without delay.

During the court hearing, held on October 28, 2015, the state recalled that about a year before, it had agreed to shorten the length of the “settlement procedure” in this case from seven years to three; thus in effect, still insisting on regulating the youths’ life in the West bank with permits. The state also noted that under its undertaking, given in the context of HCJ 4019/10, Palestinians who had relocated from Gaza to the West Bank before September 2005, were no longer threatened by deportation to Gaza. However, the court held that the state’s proposal was inadequate, and urged the state to consider a shortened route for updating the youths’ official addresses, whereby the state would exempt the youths from the need for stay permits and set them a waiting period, following which – subject to the absence of security or criminal preclusion – it would change their official addresses in its registry copy to the West Bank. This, given their long years of residence in the West Bank, which made it inconceivable that one fine day they should find themselves in the status of foreigners.

HaMoked demanded that the address of both youths be updated immediately from Gaza to the West Bank, without compelling them to wait for three years, while at the mercy of the military bureaucracy, liable to be stopped and questioned on their place of residence every time they crossed one of the many checkpoints in the West Bank. HaMoked also asserted that it was unreasonable for the state to apply a new policy retroactively and thus, overnight, turn people who had been living in the West Bank their entire lives into “illegal aliens”.

In its decision, issued October 28, 2015, the court ruled that “following our comments, the state will examine the possibility that the petitioners would not be given renewable stay permits, and after an additional period to be set by the Respondent according to the special circumstances of each of the petitioners, the petitioners would be registered in the population registry file in Judea and Samaria in their current residence address in the Area”. The court gave the state 60 days to submit its supplemental notice, followed by 30 days, during which HaMoked may submit its response.
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