Sunday 19 November 2017

Israeli law makers ban Palestinian spouses from settling in Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed extending the bill barring Palestinian spouses from Israel Credit: Gali Tibbon
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu backed extending the bill barring Palestinian spouses from Israel Credit: Gali Tibbon

David Kearns

Israel has voted to extend a law banning Palestinians married to Israelis from living with their spouses in the country.

The law, which was first passed in 2003, and renewed every year since, forbids Palestinians married to Israelis from living in Israel or becoming Israeli citizens.

First introduced as a temporary security measure, aimed at preventing potential terrorists entering Israel through marriage, the law has been heavily criticised for essentially banning marry between Israeli and Palestinians.

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The head of the -left-wing Zionist party Meretz Zehava Galon said the law amounted to "a bill which says is every Arab citizen is a potential terrorist."

On Monday, members from the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) voted 57 to 20 to extend the controversial law for another year.

However, the process by which the law will be renewed in future has been changed.

Now, a hearing authorised by the the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee and the Internal Affairs and Environment Committee will take place each time the law is voted on.

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Defending the law, Interior Minister Silvan Shalom drew attention to Palestinians who "took advantage of their status in Israel as a result of family reunification processes to become involved in terrorist activities, including aiding in carrying out suicide attacks."

He encouraged Knesset members to support the law, saying the security situation had worsened in recent months.

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However, parliamentary Aida Touma-Suleiman, from a political alliance of Arab-dominated parties, criticised the effects of the law.

"My daughter fell in love with a young, white, blonde man from Holland. I don't want to think about what would have happened if she had fallen in love with a Palestinian," she said.

"Their situation would have looked like that of almost 20,000 families, who became involved in a love story with a Palestinian Arab."

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