For a second time, the government postponed on Tuesday, June 29, a highly anticipated vote on the renewal of temporary “emergency” legislation that would extend the current ban on the automatic granting of Israeli citizenship or residency to Palestinians from the occupied territories who are married to citizens of Israel. The vote is now scheduled to take place on Monday, July 5, just one day before it is set to expire. Tuesday’s vote this week was postponed once again when the coalition realized it has yet to secure a majority.
The Knesset vote was initially scheduled for June 21, but was postponed to June 29 because lawmakers from the coalition parties of Meretz, Labor and Ra’am (United Arab List) oppose its extension as does the opposition Joint List. The right-wing opposition parties, although ideologically on board with extending the order which prevents the reunification of Palestinian families, rebuffed coalition efforts to ensure their support, arguing that their job was to unseat the new government, not assist it.
Dozens of Palestinian families rallied outside of the Knesset on Tuesday, June 29, to protest government plans to extend the racist emergency order, which was initially passed by the Knesset during the Second Intifada. Protesters held banners calling to save Palestinian families whose lives together have been severely disrupted under the controversial emergency order. Addressing those gathered, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash), head of the Joint List, said “Since the passage of this racist legislation in 2003, we have been backing these families in their just cause. Ra’am, Meretz and Labor must actively oppose the law’s extension”. Lawmaker Aida Touma-Suleiman (Joint List) who participated in the rally together with all three Hadash MKs said, “The claim that this law was enacted for security reasons is a big lie… The only rationale for this law is the racist mentality which is trying to preserve a Jewish majority.”
For years, Hadash has opposed the annual renewal of the emergency order because it prevents Palestinians from the occupied territories from entering Israel to be reunited with and reside alongside their families, a violation of fundamental human rights – the right to equality and the right to family. The law affects thousands of Palestinian families on both sides of the Green Line between Israel and the occupied West Bank, preventing Palestinians from legally moving into Israel to join their spouses.
Israel enacted the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law in 2003 as a temporary “emergency regulation,” but it has been renewed annually ever since and is now, for all intents and purposes, a permanent law. The current tenure of the order expires on July 6.
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