Israel immigration law discriminates against thousands from Palestine


This document threatens to ruin Lana Khatib’s life – it makes no mention of her university degree, husband or two children. It simply states she’s a Palestinian – and therefore illegal and unwanted in Israel.

“I have a permission to stay here, but I don’t have any rights, just to breathe and eat and drink and for me it’s not a life”, Lana Khatib told RT.

But Lana chooses this non-life because it’s where her husband and children live. By law they’re Israeli whereas the rest of her family live across the border in Jenin, West Bank.

Taiseer Khatib, Lana’s husband, says that: “each time we travel to Jenin during the week, during the usual days, Lana goes through a path, and I and the kids go through another path. What does this remind us of?”

Until now Lana’s moved between the two worlds with temporary visas issued by Tel Aviv. But she’s afraid that could stop as the government tightens its grip on an eight-year-old law denying permanent citizenship to Palestinians married to Israelis.

Mohammad Darawshe, Co-Executive Director of the Abraham Funds Initiative told RT that Israel “is trying to limit the demographic natural growth of the Arab citizens, encourage Arab citizens who marry Palestinians from the west bank and Gaza or Jordan to actually emigrate, to actually leave Israel.”

Taiseer and Lana Khatib

Taiseer and Lana Khatib

Israel says the law is for security purposes. And it’s trying to prevent Palestinians from taking advantage of being able to get an Israeli ID through marriage and then carry out attacks on Israeli citizens.

But human rights groups don’t buy that they petitioned the law arguing that in the last 14 years, more than 130 000 Palestinians have entered Israel because of family ties with Israelis only 54 of them were ever found to be a security risk.

In upholding the so-called citizenship law the Israeli Supreme Court president said it was one of the most difficult questions in the state’s history – the battle against terror while at the same time maintaining the nation’s democratic nature.

Sawsan Zaher Attorney and Director of Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel says: “we are talking about thousands of families, that as a result of the decision of the supreme court that validated and upheld the law, they are now living under the tangible threat of being forcibly separated from their spouses, from their children, from their parents, so we are indeed talking about a huge issue.”

But in the meantime it threatens to tear families apart – as Lana and Taiseer now face the very real danger that they might not be able to continue living together.


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