Israeli Supreme Court requests the Knesset and government respond within 90 days as to their willingness to make minor changes to the ban on Palestinian family unification

Adalah: There are no amendments that can be made which will repair this racist law, which creates Apartheid for citizenship and other fundamental rights
On 7 March 2023, the State respondents requested an extension for the submission of their position regarding amendments to the Citizenship Law until 11 June 2023, and the court granted this request. On 5 March, the Knesset provided its response stating that, as of the date of submission, no amendments to the temporary order have been filed, and the Knesset plans to approve the extension of the temporary order.

CLICK HERE to read the Knesset’s response

On 5 March 2023, the Israeli Knesset extended the ban on Palestinian family unification for another year without making the minor changes requested by the court.

Today, 4 December 2022, the Israeli Supreme Court issued a decision on nine petitions against the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) – 2022, adopted by the Knesset on 10 March 2022. The Court ordered the Interior Minister and the Knesset to submit their position as to their willingness to make several amendments to the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) – 2022, to address concerns that the judges had, arising from several petitions, following the Supreme Court’s hearing on the case held on 1 December 2022.


CLICK HERE to read the Court’s decision (Hebrew)


CLICK HERE for more about the petition


The respondents are to issue their response within 90 days – 5 March 2022 – just days before the expiration date of the current Temporary Order, which can be extended (as it has been every year since 2003) either through legislation or through a government order, subject to the Knesset’s approval. The Law effectively bans the unification of Palestinian families in Israel, e.g., Palestinians with Israeli citizenship married to Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip cannot live together in Israel. It also bans unification with spouses from Israeli-designated “enemy states”, including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran.


The order requests that respondents address the following issues: (1) the amendment of the definition of “resident of the area” in Section 2 of the Law, to exclude individuals who are registered in the Palestinian Authority’s population registry but are not residents of the West Bank; (2) inclusion of same-sex couples in the section authorizing the Interior Minister to make exceptions to prevent separation from their partner residing in Israel legally (Section 4); (3) amending who is authorized to be granted a temporary residency permit – instead of women above 50-years-old who have resided in Israel legally for 10 years, women above 40 who have resided in Israel legally for 5 years; (4) re-evaluation of the quota on the number of permits granted by the Interior Minister for “special humanitarian reasons”. The Law prescribes that the quota will be the number of permits granted in 2018, which stood at 58 permits.


Adalah responded:


"The Supreme Court continues to make every effort to decline to intervene and exercise its judicial authority, despite the fact that during the hearing, Adalah, among other petitioners, presented arguments which necessitate the issuance of an interim order and the cancellation of the law. The clarifications that the Supreme Court requested are evidence in themselves that the provisions do not serve security purposes as the government and the Knesset repeatedly claim. There is no cosmetic change or additional amendment that can be made which will allow the law to comply with fundamental rights. The sweeping and arbitrary provisions of the law, including the quotas set for permits for humanitarian reasons, not only are disproportionate, but have a racist demographic purpose and create Apartheid in the field of citizenship. Therefore, it must be struck down immediately."