HaMoked to the HCJ: the humanitarian committee avoids recommending grant of Israeli status even in difficult cases, despite its mandate to do so
A young Palestinian woman whose parents and siblings are permanent Israeli residents has been living in East Jerusalem since childhood with military stay permits only – without status or social security rights. Burdened by her lack of civil status – with its cumulative adverse effect on her ability to provide for herself, build a family and travel freely – the young woman became mentally distressed and requires regular psychiatric treatment.
In November 2014, the Ministry of Interior’s Humanitarian Committee rejected HaMoked’s application to grant the young woman Israeli status (A/5 type visa), which would have afforded her social security rights and national health insurance. Therefore, on February 5, 2015, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice
(HCJ) to instruct the Ministry of Interior to grant the young woman Israeli status, based on the fact that she had been living in Jerusalem since childhood and only had ties in Israel. HaMoked stressed that there was no security preclusion in her case, and that, in any event, if she received an A/5 visa, she would have to undergo security and criminal checks periodically.
On March 17, 2016, following the justices’ recommendation
that the matter be returned to the Humanitarian Committee for reconsideration, the Ministry of Interior announced
it decided to grant the woman an A/5 type visa, but only until the August 2016 entry into force of the new national health insurance regulations, whereupon the woman would be given only stay permits as before. HaMoked responded
by insisting on its petition, claiming that the Ministry of Interior’s decision did not provide an adequate answer for the petitioner’s predicament, given that medical insurance, important as it may be, did not solve the woman’s difficulties arising from her lack of Israeli status, a state of affairs which was harming the woman’s mental state, her personal life and professional life. The Ministry of Interior clearly opted to disregard all of the relevant humanitarian aspects of the case.
On July 18, 2016, the justices ruled that “the committee’s decision is unreasoned with relation to the overall arguments raised in the petition and the hearing”, and instructed the state to return the case for renewed consideration (the third!) by the humanitarian committee and to submit its reasoned conclusions to the court within 60 days.
Recently, in another case (HCJ 4380/11), the court has criticized the tightfisted policy of the Humanitarian Committee, which only infrequently uses its mandate to recommend giving Israeli status in severe humanitarian cases, which cannot be adequately settled by the grant of stay permits.