Israel set to extend 'temporary' law that tears Palestinian families apart – for 16th year in a row

The law, enacted in 2003 and renewed annually, blocks unification of tens of thousands of Palestinian families living in Israel, West Bank, and Gaza.

The Israeli government is slated to extend once again today, 3 November 2019, one of the country's most discriminatory laws which directly targets Palestinian families.


The law 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.


Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel calls for the abolition of this racist law, which violates the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens and stands in direct contravention of international humanitarian law and concluding observations of United Nations committees.


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.


Just this past month, the UN Committee on Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (UN CESCR) raised concern that the law prevents Palestinians from enjoying the right to family life and keeps them separated for years. UN CESCR recommended that Israel facilitate family unification for all citizens and permanent residents.