Israel's High Court of Justice backs law which bars unification of Palestinian families
Israel's High Court of Justice Sunday narrowly upheld a controversial law that bars Palestinians from living with spouses and children in Israel.
On 31 July 2003, the Israeli parliament enacted the "Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) - 2003." This law prohibits the granting of any residency or citizenship status to Palestinians from the 1967 Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) who are married to Israeli citizens. The Law affects thousands of families comprised of tens of thousands of individuals. The Law, which was originally enacted for one year, was extended by the parliament for a six month period on 21 July 2004, and for an additional four month period on 31 January 2005. On 27 July 2005, the Israeli parliament voted to extend the law until 31 March 2006, with minor amendments which do not diminish the unconstitutionality or discriminatory nature of the Law, and in the case of some amendments, inflict further violations of constitutional rights.
Reacting to the decision, senior Arab Israeli lawmaker Mohammed Barakeh has strongly condemned the High Court's ruling, saying it "gives racism a shady alibi."
"The fact that the ruling was opposed by several of the judges is a ray of light that does not illuminate the darkness of the court's decision and the Knesset's legislation," said Barakeh, who is also chairman of the Hadash party.
"Israel's book of laws is becoming, with the High Court's approval, a guide for all post-World War II racist legislation."