The Israeli Interior Minister Is Cynically Violating Palestinian Rights

Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial
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Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked in Jerusalem, last month
Haaretz.
Haaretz Editorial

Over two months ago, the Knesset voted against extending the emergency order that allowed the state to prevent Palestinians from the territories coming to live in Israel with their Israeli Arab spouses – but Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked doesn’t care.

Shaked doesn’t want to bid farewell to the law that allowed Israel to discriminate against Arab Israelis for 18 years on security pretexts. So what did the minister do? She ordered the Population and Immigration Authority to ignore the expiration of the order, and handle family unification requests according to the legal situation that prevailed when the order was still in force.

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She found a fine ploy: instead of an emergency order, a ministerial order. Palestinians who turned to the population authority either received no response at all or were told: “At this time we cannot make new appointments until additional instructions are received.”

The wording in a letter sent by the head of the population authority, Tomer Moskowitz, to the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Hamoked-Center for the Defense of the Individual and Physicians for Human Rights, which petitioned the district court, is an insult to the intelligence.

Supposedly, Shaked ordered the population authority to act as if the law were still valid not because of her staunch opposition to granting legal status to Palestinians married to Israelis.

Shaked and her ministry officials simply need time “to formulate a policy.” How much time? No way of knowing. “This examination might take time in because of the complexity of the matter,” Moskowitz explained in his letter, and therefore – but not because of Shaked’s worldview, perish the thought, nor out of a desire to maintain Jewish demographic superiority by improper means – “the interior minister gave instructions to continue in keeping with the legal situation in force during the time the emergency order was valid.”

Following the refusal of the population authority to deal with the requests, a number of Palestinians also petitioned the Jerusalem District Court. The court should order Shaked to cease instructing her ministry to waste time, even if it is not to her liking or the liking of the coalition, which voted with her to extend the emergency order but lost to the opposition. They have had enough time.

The Interior Ministry should examine every request for legal status of family members of Israelis on an individual basis, without discrimination. The attempt at evasion by bureaucratic means is wrong, contemptible and illegal.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.

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