The Israeli government Sunday retroactively approved Interior Minister Eli Yishai's April 1 freeze on all family reunifications between Israeli Arabs and Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, to prevent Palestinians from the territories gaining Israeli citizenship.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel petitioned the High Court of Justice against the decision, Haaretz reported.
According to a plan presented to the government and approved, the April 1 freeze on new applications for family reunifications - 22,414 were approved since 1993 - will continue indefinitely while new legislation is prepared to consolidate the policy in law.
Yishai decided on the freeze after the suicide bombing at the restaurant in Haifa, when it turned out the Jenin bomber, Shadi Tubasi, had Israeli citizenship by virtue of a family reunification.
As for the thousands of applications for family reunification awaiting Interior Ministry approval, the government decided it will await processing after the legislation Yishai wants is promulgated.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel went to the High Court with a petition against the decision Sunday, claiming it was "racist, discriminatory, and gravely harms the basic right to family life by Israeli citizens who married Arabs."
ACRI said the government is arbitrarily punishing people who innocently married Israeli citizens, on the grounds that they married in order to use the citizenship process as a way to harm the state. The petition asks the court to order him to cancel the freeze on applications. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )