On 14 May 2006, the Israeli High Court of Justice voted 6-5 in favor of an amendment to the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law that bars family reunification for Israelis, particularly Palestinian-Israelis, married to Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. This law affects tens of thousands of couples including Palestinian-Israelis inside the Green Line and in Jerusalem, who are also subject to Israeli law and who often marry Palestinians from inside the occupied territories.
According to Amnesty International, the law violates the absolute prohibition on discrimination contained in international human rights law, notably several treaties which Israel has ratified and is obliged to uphold, including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), and the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
Israel is also violating the International Declaration of Human Rights. Article 16 of the Declaration states, “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family,” and “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.”
In addition, The Convention on the Nationality of Married Women, to which Israel is party, requires signatory states to enable every foreign woman married to a citizen of the state to obtain the citizenship held by her husband, at her request, through special and preferred citizenship procedures.
For Palestinian ID holders married to Israeli citizens or permanent residents of Jerusalem, this means they must either build their family outside of the country or choose to live “illegally” inside Israel, which subjects them to the constant threat of arrest, deportation and harassment. In addition, living illegally means they are not entitled to any rights of a resident/citizen and cannot therefore work, drive or conduct otherwise routine everyday actions.
Hence, we the undersigned call on the relevant parties (the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process & Personal Representative of the Secretary General, the Middle East Quartet, the Israeli High Court of Justice, and the Office of the Israeli Prime Minister) to have this discriminatory law annulled, insomuch that it prohibits Palestinian families to live in peace and prosperity with their spouses inside Israel and Jerusalem and which contravenes all laws of humanity, which respect the sanctity of the family unit. This is especially true in regards to the right of children to be brought up in a stable home without the risk of deportation and harassment on the sole basis of nationality.