HaMoked appeals to the Supreme Court: The Ministry of Interior must revise its procedures to ensure children of East Jerusalemites undergoing a status restoration procedure are not left without status המוקד להגנת הפרט
22.03.2021
HaMoked appeals to the Supreme Court: The Ministry of Interior must revise its procedures to ensure children of East Jerusalemites undergoing a status restoration procedure are not left without status
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East Jerusalemites who were stripped of their permanent residency status – as part of Israel’s longstanding policy known as the “quiet deportation” – and apply to the Ministry of Interior to regain their status, must undergo a procedure which lasts at least two years. During this period, the Ministry of Interior gives them temporary status, but not to their minor children who were born abroad. The children only receive tourist visas, which do not afford them access to health services and social security rights. Only after their original status is restored, can parents apply to legalize the status of their children – provided they are still minors. If the child has already turned 18, they are not entitled to any residency status in Jerusalem. The situation is even more harsh for children defined as “residents of the Area” (i.e. West Bank residents) under the discriminatory Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, which prohibits granting them any residency status in Jerusalem status if the request to register them is filed after they turned 14.

HaMoked petitioned the Jerusalem Court for Administrative Affairs in June 2019, in a bid to have these wrongful procedures revised, arguing that they disproportionately and unjustifiably infringe on the children’s best interest and their parents’ right to family life. Inexplicably, on February 7, 2021, the Court dismissed HaMoked’s petition in its entirety. This, despite the fact that the judgment only explicitly dismissed the first of the three remedies sought in the petition – the one demanding that these children be given the same status as their Jerusalemite parent with whom they live. The judgement supported adoption of the second remedy, in which HaMoked demanded that the relevant date to determine a child’s eligibility for residency would be their age on the date their parents applied to regain their status, rather than the date of the child registration request. However, the judgement was phrased in an unenforceable manner, stating that: “in this context there is indeed room to change the procedure, as the petition presented a concrete difficulty the current procedure raises in this matter given the prolongation of the [bureaucratic] processes, without any answer being provided on behalf of Respondents regarding the difficulty and its justification. Therefore, the Respondents are to consider updating their procedures in this context”. The judgement did not address the petition’s third remedy, in which HaMoked demanded that alternatively, parents would be allowed to apply to legalize their children’s status at the same time as they apply to have their own status restored, and that the requests would be examined simultaneously.

In March 22, 2021, HaMoked appealed to the Supreme Court to rule that the petition had been partially accepted rather than wholly rejected. Without such a ruling, it would be impossible to file a follow up petition should the procedures be left unchanged – a very real concern given the vague phrasing of the lower court’s judgment. HaMoked also requested that the Court compel the Ministry of Interior to revise its procedures regarding the decisive date for determining the child’s age and therefore eligibility for granting them status, and that the Ministry be given clear instructions how to implement the change.
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