Can Palestinians become Israeli citizens

No Israeli passport for Palestinians

An aftermath before the Israeli Supreme Court will have a law that the Israeli parliament passed with a majority on Thursday (July 31, 2003) and which further worsens the legal position of the almost one million Israeli Arabs: the law, which was passed by 53 votes to 25 (with one abstention) stipulates that in the event of a marriage between an Israeli Arab and a non-Israeli partner, this partner does not automatically receive Israeli citizenship or even a right to stay in Israel.

This primarily affects marriages of Palestinians, one of whom lives in Israel and the other in the Palestinian territories. Lately - so official agencies in Jerusalem assure - the way through such marriages has been abused more and more often in order to prepare and carry out terrorist attacks in Israel without hindrance. The most sensational case in 2001 was that of the murderer of former tourism minister Rahavam Ze’evi. The murderer came from the West Bank, but had come into possession of an Israeli ID card through his marriage to an Israeli Arab woman and was therefore unmolested in the preparation of his murder attempt.

Objection to the Supreme Court

For Israeli Arabs, supported by human rights organizations and left-wing liberal Jewish groups, the law represents unacceptable discrimination against Israeli Arabs. Two MPs have already announced that they will appeal to the Supreme Court. However, it is more than open whether this court will follow their arguments. In the past, the chief judges even went so far as to sanction the use of physical force against arrested Palestinians. With the indication that this could save human lives - for the critics of this decision, however, this was a license to torture.

While the authors of the new law are now arguing with security problems again, the real reasons for this are probably much deeper: Israel, which defines itself as a "Jewish state", has never shown the slightest interest, the number of its non-Jewish ones To let the population grow.

Rigid regulation

After the founding of the state, only half a million Palestinians remained on Israeli territory. The others had fled and found refuge in neighboring countries. Their return is still denied to this day; however, very many of them have long been permanent residents in the Palestinian territories and in Jordan. Until the Six Day War in 1967, contacts between Israeli Arabs and the displaced only existed in third countries or at Christian festivals - for which Jordan allowed Israeli Christians to enter East Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

In some cases, marriages took place on these occasions - but usually the Israeli partner had to renounce his citizenship and move to the partner living abroad. The case of a young Arab woman from Haifa in northern Israel is particularly macabre: Before 1967 in Bethlehem, she fell in love with a Palestinian with a Jordanian passport, married him and moved to Jordan. A little later, Israel conquered the West Bank - and Bethlehem too. However, the woman did not regain her Israeli citizenship, but was subject to the Israeli military administration. Even though parents and siblings were still Israeli citizens. After a few years she emigrated to the USA with her family.

Two-class society

Similar absurd situations are preprogrammed by the new law. And Israeli Arabs once again feel forced into a two-class society, because non-Jewish non-Palestinian spouses of Jews can easily become Israelis. Although the religious establishment does not understand this, the State of Israel accepts, for example with the immigration of Jews, that the non-Jewish partner can become Israeli: this is the case with countless immigrant marriages from the former Soviet Union. And even with - less common - mixed marriages between Jewish Israelis and non-Jews from abroad, this is not a problem.