Posted on May 15, 2006

Israeli Court Upholds Spousal Citizenship Ban

CBC News (Canada), May 14, 2006

Israel’s highest court has narrowly upheld a controversial law that is keeping some families apart by prohibiting Palestinian spouses of Israeli citizens from living in the country.

The High Court of Justice voted 6-5 on Sunday to uphold the Citizenship and Entry law, rejecting petitions brought by civil-rights groups, members of the Israeli parliament and Arab-Israeli families.

The law, implemented in July 2003 at a time of rising violence, bans Palestinians from moving to Israel to live with their spouses, who are mostly Arab Israelis.

Government lawyers argued that the law prevents Palestinians from entering Israel to carry out attacks, while critics said it’s racist and violates human rights.

Three of the judges said that while the law violated human rights, the damage was not “disproportional.”

Amnesty International had condemned the law, saying it discriminates on “the basis of ethnicity and nationality” and denies Palestinians “the fundamental right to family life.”