Following HaMoked’s intervention: Israel abandons its plan to deport to Jordan a Palestinian living since childhood in the West Bank. The man was released to his home after he was held for some three months in a prison ward for illegal aliens
On May 1, 2019, HaMoked filed a request to the Review Tribunal over Custody of Illegal Aliens to release from custody a resident of the West Bank. The man has been living in the West Bank since he was 3-years-old, after his Palestinian parents returned to their home in Dura in the West Bank, having lived for a few years with their children in Jordan. Since then, the man has lived in Dura, where he raises his family, for which he is the sole breadwinner.
The man was arrested in January 2019 for illegal presence in Israel and served a 20-day prison sentence for this offence. However, contrary to his previous arrests, this time the authorities decided the man was not from the West Bank but rather a Jordanian national. So in early February they issued an order for his deportation to Jordan. The Jordanian authorities refused to issue the man transit papers for their country and even revoked his citizenship. Despite the impossibility of deporting him to Jordan, Israel continued to hold the man in custody – contrary to the express purpose of this type of custody, as prescribed in Israeli case law.
Unlike his siblings – including his younger brother who was also born in Jordan – who are all registered in the Palestinian population registry, the man was not registered as an oPt resident. This oversight could not be corrected due to the restrictive policy Israel has been implementing for almost 20 years regarding family unification in the oPt
. The man’s most recent request to legalize his status in the oPt was submitted in 2018 and it too was left unanswered. There are many Palestinians like him living in the oPt by virtue of nothing but temporary visitor permits, or with no legal status at all, due to Israel’s policy.
It should be noted that in April, while the man was still in custody, his wife gave birth to the couple's sixth child, a baby girl. Thus, his family was left without him and without any income at this sensitive and significant period.
In its decision of May 2, 2019, the Review Tribunal ruled that if the man was not deported by May 19, 2019, he must be released from custody. The decision stated that “the condition established in [the Entry into Israel Law] which prevents his release because a reasonable and practical destination for deportation has not yet been determined” did not apply in his case, “given the purpose of the custody and the period of time given to identify the deportation [destination]”.
On May 19, 2019, the man was released and united with his family.
This case was resolved successfully within a few months. In a similar case handled by HaMoked, a Palestinian man has been detained by Israel for over two years, “pending deportation” to Brazil
. This, despite the fact that he also has been living in the West Bank since he was three years old and has no other home. Here again the family’s request to register the man as a resident of the oPt was not processed due to the Israeli freeze policy on family unification. As part of its endeavors to free the man, HaMoked has recently filed a family unification petition to the High Court of Justice on his behalf – the latest in a series of petitions
against this freeze policy. HaMoked calls on Israel to release the young man immediately and allow him to return to his home and continue with his life.