Israel’s High Court Rejects “Citizenship Law” Petitions

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Israel’s High Court Rejects “Citizenship Law” Petitions
15 January 2012
 

Law prevents Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs from receiving Israeli citizenship or residency. By Tomer Zarchin, Haaretz 11 January 2012 Israel’s High Court rejected on Wednesday petitions against the Citizenship Law, which prevents Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs from receiving Israeli citizenship or residency. Six judges voted to reject the petitions, while five voted to accept them. Israel generally grants citizenship to spouses of Israelis in a gradual process. In the spirit of this process, a similar process was instituted for the naturalization of spouses of permanent residents, though the process is a little longer. A 2002 temporary order excluded Palestinian spouses from these processes and barred them from becoming Israeli citizens. In May 2006, the High Court rejected numerous petitions asking to overturn the citizenship law. However, most of the justices wrote that the law constitutes a violation of basic rights, mainly the right to a family life. In March 2007, in a hearing surrounding later petitions against the law, the state said that an amended version of the temporary order was expected to be approved by the Knesset, and the court consequently ruled that the petitioners would have to revise their petitions in accordance with the amended orders after they were made public. After the hearing, the amended law was made public, and the petitioners maintained that the new version not only extended the validity of the law until July 2008, it also expanded the geographic jurisdiction of the law, making it applicable to spouses from Iran, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq as well as other areas on which the government was free to decide. Arabs make up about 20 percent of Israel`s population of 7 million. About 3 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Many families were divided by cease-fire lines after wars, and over the years, marriage between the two groups has been common. Since 1993, more than 100,000 Palestinians have obtained Israeli permits in this manner and some Israelis see this as a security threat. Original article **** Israel`s High Court Doesn`t Deserve to Be Defended Long before the Citizenship Law, the rope was no more than a broken reed of support for the protection of human rights in Israel. By Gideon Levy, Haaretz 15 January 2012 The fight to defend the High Court of Justice from those who would bring it down must stop now. Enough self-righteousness, enough of this masquerade, in which we imagine that we are trying to protect the last beacon of justice and the last bastion of Israeli democracy. Not only is there no longer any point to the struggle—the last-ditch battle has already failed—it is also no longer justified. No more is there reason to defend an institution that issued the shameful rejection of the petition against the amendment to the Citizenship Law. A court that vets this nationalistic and racist amendment, which discriminates against Arab citizens of Israel solely on the basis of their ethnicity, which in the name of security is prepared to deny basic rights and destroy the lives of thousands of Israeli families, which makes false use of security to try to cover up its racism - is an institution that must no longer be defended. Its name has been taken in vain, and defending it is misleading because it makes it seem to be an institution worth fighting for. It is better to tell the truth: It is not the guardian of the seal of democracy and human rights in Israel. The right wing can continue demolishing it to their hearts` content; they are only demolishing ruins. Let`s speak plainly: This is about transfer. Not by the army, the settlers or the extreme right, but expulsion under the aegis of the law and with the court`s seal of approval. The ruling of the justices in Jerusalem means breaking up thousands of Israeli families whose mother or father will be expelled. Vladimir can marry Yana, but Mohammed cannot marry Sana. Among the justifications and pretexts of the majority of the bench, from Justice Eliezer Rivlin`s the damage is for a worthy goal to Justice Hanan Melcer`s the law protects the security of the state, Justice Miriam Naor`s diabolical reasoning stands out: Protection does not extend to fulfillment of family life specifically in Israel. And just where will the people of this land who come from Taibeh or Nazareth go? And why should they go? The ink is not yet dry on the Entry Into Israel Law before Israel continues its ethnic cleansing by means of the Citizenship Law. Thus will our encampment be pure. And who shall we thank and bless? The leftist and liberal court. In the masquerade of defense of the High Court, one mask stands out as particularly deceitful - that of High Court President Dorit Beinisch. A do-gooder, she voted against the shameful ruling. But she drew out the process until an initial justice on the case who opposed the law, Ayala Proccacia, retired and was replaced by a justice who would say yes to the law. Beinisch wanted to have her cake and eat it too - to seem enlightened while not further kindling the anger of the right against her court. Beinisch understands the limitations of power, her supporters say, and realized that the rope could not be pulled too tight, lest it break. Well, Madame President, that rope has indeed broken. A court that neutralizes itself with its own hands and abuses its office out of fear of its enemies is not a court. Long before the Citizenship Law, the rope was no more than a broken reed of support for the protection of human rights in Israel, particularly as long as these rights face off against the molech of security, which the court worshiped almost slavishly; the ruling on the Citizenship Law has now only given the final seal of approval to the end of the sham. Of course, the trumpets of the right hailed the decision: A good wind is blowing from the court, they said, which is sufficient to understand that a very evil wind is blowing through it. After the grotesque demonization of the planned invasive swarm, and the danger of terror from the Ajaji family, she from the Galilee and he from Tul Karm; after the self-righteous campaign of everyone does it, despicably ignoring the essential difference between foreigners and natives of this land—the sovereign or the occupied part—both of whom are members of one people, the High Court has satisfied the fear mongers of demographics and terror, and crushed the rights of minorities in Israel. And now, who are we to complain about the moss growing out of the rock, on the Danons and the Levins, when the cedar trees, which may never have even been cedars, have caught fire? Original opinion

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