Israel extends validity of Citizenship Law that prevents unification of Palestinian families in Israel

2003 Citizenship Law – one of one of the country's most discriminatory laws targeting Palestinian families – is a racist violation of the fundamental constitutional rights to equality and the right to family.

The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has again this morning, 1 June 2020, extended Israel's Citizenship Law. The law, which prevents Palestinians from entering Israel for the purposes of family reunification, is a racist violation of fundamental constitutional rights – the right to equality and the right to family. Adalah has petitioned against the law to the Israeli Supreme Court twice since it was enacted in 2003, and we continue today to oppose the extension of its validity.


Adalah Deputy Director General Attorney Sawsan Zaher speaking before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Monday, 1 June 2020


The law – one of one of the country's most discriminatory targeting Palestinian families – prevents Palestinian citizens of Israel who are married to residents of the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as countries that Israel considers "enemy states," from living with their spouses in Israel.


The law affects tens of thousands of Palestinian families on both sides of the Green Line between Israel and the West Bank, preventing Palestinians from legally moving into Israel to join their spouses.


Israel enacted the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law in 2003 as a temporary "emergency regulation", but it has been renewed annually since and is now, for all intents and purposes, a permanent law.


Adalah twice challenged the law before the Israeli Supreme Court, with the court upholding the constitutionality of the Citizenship Law both in 2006 and again in 2012. In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled in a 6-5 vote that even if the law harmed the constitutional rights of citizens of Israel such as the right to equality, this infringement was proportional and did not violate Israel's Basic Laws.


CLICK HERE to read Adalah's position submitted to the Knesset committee [Hebrew]


CLICK HERE to read Adalah special report on family unification