Center for the Defence of the Individual - Only after a petition to the High Court of Justice: mother of extremely ill child receives a stay permit to live with her husband and three children in the family home in Jerusalem
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חזרה לעמוד הקודם

Only after a petition to the High Court of Justice: mother of extremely ill child receives a stay permit to live with her husband and three children in the family home in Jerusalem

In 2014, a Palestinian woman from the West Bank married a resident of East Jerusalem and moved to his family home in the city. But the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law blocks Palestinians from the occupied territories from receiving status in Israel and in East Jerusalem as part of family unification procedures, and only allows for temporary stay permits to be granted to women over 25 and men over 35. The woman was 20 years old when married; she therefore had no path to legalizing her status, and was forced to live in her new home with no status.

In late 2015, in the seventh month of the woman's first pregnancy, she prematurely gave birth to twin boys with severe medical problems. Following prolonged hospitalization and a number of operations, one of the infants made a near-complete recovery. However, the second infant remained with chronic medical problems, including difficulty breathing and problems with his digestive system.

As such, on May 15, 2017, HaMoked submitted a request to the Ministry of Interior's Humanitarian Committee, which has the authority to recommend that the Minister of Interior grant status to spouses from the occupied territories, in unusual humanitarian circumstances. HaMoked requested that the mother be granted temporary residency (an A/5 visa), noting that she cares for three infants (in 2016 the couple had another child), one of whom suffers from severe medical issues and requires complex treatments. HaMoked stressed that, with no legal status, the mother cannot fully take part in caring for the children, creating an impossible burden on the father – the only person who can drive the infant to his medical appointments and coordinate his treatments at medical centers and hospitals. In the present situation, the father is not available to earn a living, and the family's financial state is dire. HaMoked demanded that the family's request be urgently reviewed due to their difficult situation, and that a decision on the matter be given as quickly as possible.

Seven months later, and despite numerous reminders, HaMoked's request received no response. As such, on January 1, 2018, HaMoked submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on behalf of the family, demanding that the woman's status be legalized and that the Humanitarian Committee act according to its obligation to prioritize requests containing special humanitarian considerations. HaMoked stressed that the lack of legal status for the mother, against whom there are no security or criminal allegations, creates an impossible burden on the father and prevents the entire family from reasonably functioning. HaMoked further claimed that the Humanitarian Committee is ignoring the difficult circumstances described in the request, and is conducting itself slowly and in a manner causing serious harm to the best interest of the children and violating their constitutional right to family life. Finally, HaMoked claimed that applicants to the committee frequently have to submit petitions to the HCJ in order to force it to respond to their requests. Even the Court itself previously criticized the stingy approach of the Committee, which drags its feet and refuses to grant status in cases where the humanitarian need is clear.

Following the submission of the petition, the Committee summoned the couple to an interview, which took place on June 19, 2018. On October 26, 2018, a year and a half after their request was submitted, the Minister of Interior announced that, following the Committee's recommendation, he had decided to grant the woman a temporary stay permit. As such, in a judgment issued on November 6, 2018, the Court ruled that the petition had run its course and was to be deleted.

It is worth noting that two days after the Minister's decision was received, HaMoked contacted the Ministry of Interior requesting an urgent appointment for the woman to be granted the permit she had been promised. But once again, there was clearly a gap between HaMoked's interpretation of the word "urgent" and the Ministry's interpretation of it, and the woman's interview was scheduled for December 11, 2018, sentencing her to another month and a half with no permit.

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