Knesset Continues to Deny Palestinians Legal Status through Family Unions

The Israeli Knesset. (Photo: File)

Israel’s “Citizenship and Entry into Israel” provision was on Monday extended by Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.

This provision prohibits Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip from automatically obtaining legal status in Israel or East Jerusalem through family unions.

The law prevents the granting of Israeli citizenship or residency permits to Palestinians who marry Israeli citizens or residents, including prohibiting Israeli citizens or residents from passing on their legal status to their children if married to someone from the occupied Palestinian territory.

The law also applies to foreign nationals from Iran, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Libya, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and can apply to other nationalities originating from countries the Israeli government deems a ‘security threat’.

The law has primarily affected Palestinian citizens of Israel, who make up 20 percent of the Israeli population, who commonly marry Palestinians from the occupied West Bank.

According to a press release from the Israeli Knesset, the Shin Bet official said that, “those seeking reunification with family members in Israel pose a security risk due to the possibility that they will be used to carry out terror attacks or engage in espionage.”

The official further stated that 104 of the individuals were brought into Israel under the law committed attacks, between 2001 to 2016. He added that 17 of the 104 had come to Israel after marrying an Israeli citizen. 87 were granted citizenship through relatives who married Israeli citizens.

The Shin Bet official alleged that 73 percent of Palestinian citizens of Israel who had committed “acts of terror” against Israelis since a wave of unrest and violence began last fall were brought in as part of family re-unifications.

Member of the Joint List, Ahmad Tibi, slammed the official’s case findings, stating, “the law is not based on any security-related concern”.

Osama Saadia, another Joint List member, further attacked the Shin Bet official, saying, “29 of the 30 people involved in terror had obtained their status as a result of the law to annex Jerusalem, and not through family reunification,” reported Haaretz reported.

Israeli human rights group, Hamoked, condemned the law, calling it a “racist” provision that discriminates on ethnic origin.


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