Ever since the illegal annexation of Jerusalem in 19676, Israel maintained policies that aim at diminishing the Palestinian existence in the city. The main tools put into practice by Israeli authorities are a discriminative and rigid system of policies and legal procedures for family unification and child registration. Over the years these policies and measures have become more draconian, and in 2003, all family unification procedures were frozen by an Israeli Ministerial Decree. The Israeli Knesset passed a bill into law which is called: The Nationality and Entry into Israel (Temporary Order[i]). However in 2017, 14 years later, the “temporary order” law is still in force. The Israeli Ministry of Interior (MOI) has ensured that Palestinian East Jerusalem resident parents do not pass on residency to their future generations. Instead of sharing their city with their offspring, they bequeath to their children a life of uncertainty, fear, poverty and statelessness.
Under Israeli law, the child of an Israeli citizen is entitled to citizenship by virtue of his parentage, but a child of an East Jerusalem resident is denied any such birth right. There exists no automatic right to residency, and an East Jerusalem resident child, even if born and raised in Jerusalem, cannot “inherit” his parent’s status. While a child born to an Israeli parent will receive Israeli citizenship even if the child never set foot on Israeli soil, the child of an East Jerusalem resident parent will only receive residency if the parent proves that her or “his centre of life” and that of her child is in Jerusalem. While a child born in Israel to an Israeli parent is registered with the Ministry even before leaving the hospital, the child of an East Jerusalem resident born in East Jerusalem is denied this basic right and the parent must file an application for “child registration” and may be required to wait years before the child receives permanent resident status, if at all.
A good example of such policies is Mr. (B.A), a Palestinian from Jerusalem, married to a woman holding a Palestinian ID. They are the parents of 6 children. The couple approached St. Yves in the beginning of the year 2016 seeking legal assistance and representation since they have been battling to register their children within the Israeli Ministry of Interior for more than a decade, in vain. This means that their children were also denied any social or economic rights including healthcare. The children were unable to access their right to education and enrol in school; as they had no official record of their existence. This has caused the family to live in unstable environment filled with fear for the future of their family.
St. Yves immediately appealed within the (MOI) requesting the registration of these children as there is no valid reason for the (MOI) to keep rejecting these applications. After many correspondents that went back and forth between St. Yves and the (MOI), St. Yves was able to respond to every obstacle that the (MOI) was trying to put forth and succeeded in registering these children enabling them to benefit from all their entitled health, social and economic rights.
[i] The Nationality and Entry into Israel (Temporary Order) Law, 5763-2003. It nullified the procedures for family unification of citizens holding an Israeli passport or a Jerusalem ID with residents of the Palestinian Occupied Territories. Children born in the West Bank are forbidden under this law to live in Jerusalem or in Israeli with their family.