Family Unification
Uniting Families

Everybody has the right to a family and families are entitled to protection by society and State. But Palestinians who hold Jerusalem ID cards are permanent residents of Israel – not full citizens of the State of Israel.

If a Palestinian from Jerusalem decides to get married to somebody from the West Bank or abroad the couple has to apply for a family unification at the Ministry of Interior in order to allow the spouse to live together in Jerusalem. Until 2002, in most cases - following a long examination and period of waiting - the Ministry granted the status, enabling the couple to live together in Israel. But in 2002 the Israeli Government released an order which froze all family unifications and makes it since then very difficult to succeed in a family unification process.

As a result many Palestinians live illegally in Jerusalem, without social benefits and always afraid to be discovered and deported to the West Bank. The alternatives would be that the couples

  • have to choose between living separately on different sides of the Wall or
  • losing their residency rights in Jerusalem when they move both to the West Bank or abroad. If they decide to live in the West Bank and one spouse is Israeli citizen, he is even liable to prosecution because military commanders have forbidden Israelis to enter Area A in the West Bank and its equivalent area in the Gaza Strip.

Related Items

• Compel the Ministry of the Interior • Uniting Families • The legal framework
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