HaMoked successfully blocks another Ministry of Interior attempt to deny temporary status to Palestinians living in Israel for many years in the framework of family unification procedures: The Appeals Tribunal rules that an outdated security ban cannot be used to prevent a status upgrade
On January 20, 2020, the Appeals Tribunal invalidated the Ministry of Interior “security”- based decision not give temporary residency status to a Palestinian man living in Israel for many years pursuant to stay permits in the framework of a family unification procedure. In this and three other appeals filed by HaMoked, the Tribunal ruled that an outdated security ban was not grounds for denying an upgrade of residency status.
This case concerns a Palestinian, originally from the West Bank, who married a permanent resident from East Jerusalem in 1987. The couple have 7 children, all of whom are permanent residents of Israel. The couple’s family unification request was filed in 1995 and was approved in 1999, after which the man began receiving renewable stay permits. Under the general graduated family unification procedure, in 2002 the man was supposed to receive temporary residency status – with the attendant social security rights – but this did not happen due to the 2003 enactment of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law
, which effectively cancelled the graduated procedure for Palestinian spouses of Israeli residents. Instead, the man continued to receive stay permits until August 2006, when he was informed that his family unification request was rejected on security grounds. In the framework of HaMoked’s petition against this “security” termination, it was clarified that the man’s only “sin” was having worked for 18 months as a janitor in two educational institutions in East Jerusalem that Israel declared were affiliated to Hamas (for more details, see HaMoked 2008-2010 activity report, pp 31-33).
As a result of this petition, in January 2010 the Ministry of Interior resumed handling the couple’s family unification application. Thereupon, the man began receiving stay permits again and he continues to receive them to this day.
In April 2016, the Minister of Interior decided
to give temporary residency status to Palestinians whose approved family unification request had been filed by the end of 2003. Later that same year, HaMoked filed a request to upgrade the man’s status in accordance with this decision. However, the request was denied on February 27, 2017, on the grounds that it “does not meet the conditions… as it was refused on security grounds between the years 2006-2010”. HaMoked submitted an appeal to the Ministry, then a petition to the High Court of Justice, and the now-adjudicated appeal, arguing that the refusal was not properly detailed, was unreasonable, disproportionate, contrary to the law, and severely violated the basic rights of the couple and their children. HaMoked also argued that the man met all the conditions set in the Minister’s 2016 decision, and the fact that he continued to receive renewable stay permits indicated that there were no current security claims against him.
HaMoked hopes that following the Tribunal’s judgment, the Ministry of Interior will arrive at the proper and fair decision to give temporary residency status to the man and the three others in the same predicament.