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Government reaches agreement on six month extension on family unification law

10 7 0
06.07.2021

Israel’s disparate coalition members reached an agreement early Tuesday on a compromise on the contentious Palestinian family reunification law, that will likely see it pass in the Knesset, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked announced.

During an all-night debate on the vote, which was deliberately extended by the coalition to give it time to hash out a deal with the left-wing Meretz party and the Arab Ra’am party, an agreement was reached to see the law extended by six months instead of annually.

Under the agreement Meretz will vote for the deal along with two of the four Ra’am MK’s, most likely allowing the deal to squeak through. The vote was not expected before dawn Tuesday.

The family reunification law, which blocks the automatic granting of Israeli citizenship or residency to Palestinians on the basis of marriage to an Israeli, was first enacted in 2003, and has been extended annually.

The law was initially passed after some 130,000 Palestinians entered Israel via family reunification between 1993 and 2003, including during the Second Intifada onslaught of Palestinian terrorism. The stated prime concern at the time was that some Palestinians gaining Israeli status would engage in terrorism, but there was also a demographic goal: The security establishment’s assessment is that some 200,000 Palestinians would gain Israeli citizenship or residency each decade were it not for this legislation, Channel 12 reported.

The deadline for reextending the legislation is midnight on Tuesday.

During the Knesset debate after midnight Monday, Shaked interrupted the proceedings to announce a deal had been reached in a telephone call between coalition party leaders.

The agreement was put forward by Meretz lawmaker Issawi Frej and includes reducing the current extension to just six months, issuing some 1,600 Palestinian families with A-5 residency visas and establishing a committee to find humanitarian solutions to the other 9,700 Palestinians residing in Israel on military-issued stay permits.

Shaked pointed out to the Knesset that the number of permits issued was equivalent to those given out by former........

© The Times of Israel


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