Highlights

 
Quotable
In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Original Blog US Casualties Contact Donate

 
July 14, 2004

Palestinians Run Into Another Wall


by Jim Lobe

This other wall is not so visible as the controversial "security barrier" Israel is building around itself, but it is as real. It divides thousands of Palestinians from one another, and it does not look like it is going to come down.

The name of this wall is The Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law that bars Israelis married to Palestinians from the occupied territories from living with their spouses in Israel.

Amnesty International protested in a report published Tuesday against the law, due to come up for renewal in the Israeli parliament at the end of this month. The report "Torn Apart: Families Split by Discriminatory Policies" details the havoc this law is causing among Palestinians.

"It is very difficult to estimate the numbers affected because many people who applied are not getting a response, and others do not apply for fear that their spouses within Israel might be expelled," author of the report Donatella Rovera told IPS. "But we are talking about thousands here."

The Israelis here really are Israeli citizens of Palestinian origin who number about a million in an Israeli population of six million.

"It is Palestinians who are Israeli citizens who marry into families in the occupied territories," Rovera said. "The law discriminates explicitly against Palestinians from the occupied territories, but implicitly against Palestinians who are citizens of Israel who marry someone from the occupied territories," she said. "This legislation is a clearly discriminatory piece of legislation."

The law means that thousands who happen to be in the occupied territories are unable to with their spouses within Israel.

"After 14 years of marriage, my husband and the father of my children has no right to sleep in our home, he has no right to kiss his daughters goodnight, no right to be there if they get sick at night," Terry Bullata, a 38-year-old school principal from Jerusalem was quoted as saying in the report.

"What logic is there for forcing families to go through such hell every day, year after year," she added.

Salwa Abu Jaber, a 29-year-old kindergarten assistant from Umm al-Ghanam in Northern Israel is quoted as saying: "At the Interior Ministry they told me to either get divorced or to go live in the West Bank. But I love my husband and he loves me and we don't want to divorce and I don't want to take my children to live in the West Bank in the middle of a war and insecurity."

The law was passed at the end of July last year, "but before that the Israeli ministry of interior had set in place discriminatory policies that worked pretty much as the law," Rovera said. "The law only gave the practice a parliamentary stamp."

The Israeli Parliament is all set to extend the law. Any change would have meant the setting up of a committee to review the law, but no such committee has been set up. Officials from the Israeli ministry of Interior have indicated that the law will be extended, Rovera said.

"But still we must bring pressure to bear on the Israeli parliament not to renew the law," Rovera said. "These are not times when such openly racist laws can be acceptable."

Amnesty said in a statement that the law "institutionalizes racial discrimination contravening international human rights and humanitarian law. Without the right to family unification, thousands of Palestinian citizens of Israel and Jerusalem residents can either have their spouse live with them illegally, in daily fear of expulsion, or the whole family must leave the country."

The Israeli government has justified the law on security grounds, saying it is intended to reduce the potential threat of attacks in Israel by Palestinians.

Amnesty says that Israeli ministers and officials have "repeatedly described the percentage of Palestinian citizens of Israel as a demographic threat and a threat to the Jewish character of the state. This suggests that the law is part of a long standing policy aimed at restricting the number of Palestinians who are allowed to live in Israel and in East Jerusalem."

Amnesty is demanding repeal of the act, resumption of the processing of family unification applications on a principle of non-discrimination, processing the backlog of thousands of applications and providing details to any rejected applicant so they could challenge the decision.


comments on this article?
 
 
Archives

  • US Jews Open to Palestinian Unity Govt
    3/26/2009

  • Bipartisan Experts Urge 'Partnership' With Russia
    3/17/2009

  • Obama Administration Insists It's Neutral in Salvador Poll
    3/14/2009

  • NGOs Hail Congressional Moves to Ease Embargo
    3/12/2009

  • Call to 'Resist and Deter' Nuclear Iran Gains Key Support
    3/7/2009

  • Washington Ends Diplomatic Embargo of Syria
    3/4/2009

  • Diplomatic, Aid Spending Set to Rise Under Obama Budget
    2/28/2009

  • Many Muslims Reject Terror Tactics, Back Some Goals
    2/26/2009

  • Lugar Report Calls for New Cuba Policy
    2/24/2009

  • U.S.-Israel Storm Clouds Ahead?
    2/20/2009

  • Calls Mount for Obama to Appoint 'Truth Commission'
    2/20/2009

  • Washington's Praise of Venezuelan Vote Suggests D├ętente
    2/19/2009

  • Rightward Shift in Israeli Polls Creates New Headaches
    2/13/2009

  • US Advised to Back Somalia Reconciliation Efforts
    2/12/2009

  • Hawks Urge Boosting Military Spending
    2/5/2009

  • More Troops, More Worries,
    Less Consensus on Afghanistan
    2/4/2009

  • Report: Most Citizens Kept in Dark on Govt Spending
    2/2/2009

  • Obama Raises Hopes of
    Mideast Experts
    1/28/2009

  • Obama Picks Israel-Arab, Afghanistan-Pakistan Negotiators
    1/23/2009

  • Rights Groups Applaud Move to Halt Gitmo Trials
    1/22/2009

  • Obama Offers Internationalist Vision
    1/21/2009

  • Around the World, High Hopes for Obama
    1/20/2009

  • Liberals, Realists Set to Clash in Obama Administration
    1/19/2009

  • Obama Urged to Take Bold Steps Toward Cuba Normalization
    1/15/2009

  • Clinton Stresses 'Cooperative Engagement,' 'Smart Power'
    1/14/2009

  • Bush Foreign Policy Legacy Widely Seen as Disastrous
    1/14/2009

  • Networks' Int'l News Coverage at Record Low in 2008
    1/6/2009

  • Amnesty Calls on Rice to Drop 'Lopsided' Gaza Stance
    1/3/2009

  • Israeli Attack May Complicate Obama's Plans
    12/30/2008

  • Report: Recognizing Hamas Could Help Peace
    12/19/2008

  • Business Groups Support Dismantling Cuba Embargo
    12/8/2008

  • Mumbai Massacre Seen as Major Blow to Regional Strategy
    12/5/2008

  • Obama Urged to Quickly Engage Iran, Syria
    12/3/2008

  • Diplomacy, Multilateralism Stressed by Obama Team
    12/2/2008

  • Obama Foreign Policy: Realists to Reign?
    11/28/2008

  • Hemispheric Group Calls for Major Changes in Americas Policy
    11/25/2008

  • Greybeards Urge Overhaul of Global Governance
    11/21/2008

  • Intelligence Analysts See Multi-Polar, Risky World By 2025
    11/21/2008

  • Obama Urged to Strengthen Ties with UN
    11/20/2008

  • Obama-Tied Think-Tank Calls for Pakistan Shift
    11/18/2008

  • Obama Advised to Forgo More Threats to Iran
    11/17/2008

  • First, Close Gitmo,
    Say Rights Groups
    11/11/2008

  • Obama's Foreign Policy:
    No Sharp Break From Bush
    11/11/2008

  • Coca Cultivation Up Despite Six Years of Plan Colombia
    11/7/2008

  • Obama to Seek Global Re-engagement, But How Much?
    11/6/2008

  • Two, Three, Many Grand Bargains?
    11/3/2008

  • Moving Towards a 'Grand Bargain' in Afghanistan
    10/19/2008

  • Top Ex-Diplomats Slam 'Militarization' of Foreign Policy
    10/16/2008

  • Bush Set to Go With a Whimper, Not a Bang
    10/15/2008

  • Pakistan 'Greatest Single Challenge' to Next President
    10/8/2008

  • Senate Passes Nuke Deal Over Escalation Fears
    10/3/2008

  • Brief Talks With Syria Spur Speculation
    10/1/2008

  • Iran Resolution Shelved in Rare Defeat for AIPAC
    9/27/2008

  • Bipartisan Group Urges Deeper Diplomacy with Muslim World
    9/25/2008

  • White House Still Cautious on Georgia
    9/6/2008

  • US' Somalia Policy Likely to Bring Blowback
    9/4/2008

  • Iran Could Reap Benefits of U.S.-Russian Tensions
    8/28/2008

  • A Really Bad Couple of Weeks for Pax Americana
    8/24/2008

  • Success of Attack on Iran's Nuclear Program Doubtful
    8/9/2008

  • US Gets No Traction in the Middle East
    8/5/2008

  • Gates Strategy Stresses Unconventional Warfare
    8/1/2008

  • Air Force Think Tank Advises Against Iran Attack
    7/31/2008

  • Pakistani PM May Be Pincushion for U.S. Frustration
    7/26/2008

  • Realists Urge Bush to Drop Iran Precondition
    7/23/2008

  • McCain Knee-Capped by Maliki
    7/22/2008

  • Jim Lobe, works as Inter Press Service's correspondent in the Washington, D.C., bureau. He has followed the ups and downs of neo-conservatives since well before their rise in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

    Reproduction of material from any original Antiwar.com pages
    without written permission is strictly prohibited.
    Copyright 2003 Antiwar.com