Court Grants Palestinian Man Entry to Israel, Despite State Ban

Interior Ministry had West Bank man on 'security grounds', based on Shin Bet recomendation.

The Haifa District Court on Tuesday overturned the Interior Ministry's decision to deny entry for security reasons to a Palestinian resident of the West Bank

Jihad Nazer, of the Atil village near Tul Karm and has been married to an Israeli citizen from the northern village Baka Jat since 1996.

The couple has two children living in Israel and have been trying since their wedding to arrange the appropriate documents to bring Nazer into the country.

The High Court of Justice in 1994 granted the couple its request for family reunification.

Nazer has since been given temporary entrance permits every two to six months. But following his last permit, Nazer's request for re-enter was denied by the Interior Ministry.

The couple appealed to the military court, which found no security grounds to deny his entrance to Israel. But the ministry, which relied on a recommendation from the Shin Bet, refused to change its decision.

Once the military court learned that the ministry had retained its verdict, it too retracted its ruling to grant him entrance.

Judge Ron Shapira of the Haifa District Court, however, decided to revoke the ministry's decision as the latest retraction was not discussed in an official hearing and was based entirely on the Shin Bet's recommendation.

Judge Shapira said that he found no security reasons to deny Nazer's entrance into Israel. He added that Shin Bet, which recommended that his access be denied, does not have right of veto on family reunification matters. But its recommendation has weighty influence on the court's decision.

"The Interior Ministry's decision to deny Nazer's entrance permit directly and imminently harmed his family," said Judge Shapira.

"In a case such as this where they deny a permit that was previously granted, and which hinders family reunification, the importance for access is twofold," he added.