Gisha and HaMoked request interior ministry to facilitate entry into Israel by citizens, residents and their minor children
On August 21, 2014, Gisha and HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual sent Minister of Interior Gideon Sa’ar a request (Hebrew) to instruct ministry staff to allow Israeli citizens living in Gaza to enter Israel with their minor children, even if the children are not registered in the Israeli population registry, given the ongoing hostilities in the Gaza Strip.
Children born abroad to Israeli citizens are considered Israeli citizens by birth, according to Section 4(a)(2) of the Citizenship Law 5712-1952. However, many Israeli citizens who live in Gaza have not registered their children in the Israeli population registry for various reasons, including insurmountable red tape and access restrictions affecting travel between Gaza and Israel. Unregistered children do not have Israeli identification documents. For citizens living in Israel, the process of registering and obtaining documents is simple, but for Israeli citizens living in Gaza, the process takes many months and often requires legal action. The recent hostilities have turned children’s non-registration from a bureaucratic issue to a matter of life and death.
There is no dispute that Israeli citizens have a vested right to enter the country (according to Section 6 of Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty. However, the children of citizens (who are themselves citizens) and the children of Israeli residents (who are non-citizens) are now having difficulties entering Israel due to lack of registration and documentation. Hence, these children’s parents are forced to choose between entering Israel or staying in the Gaza Strip with their children who are minors.
Given this unique situation, and the current dangers in the Gaza Strip, the organizations wrote to the minister of interior, clarifying that Israel has a special duty toward Israelis who are caught in this predicament: First, Israelis live in Gaza because Israel does not allow Israeli citizens who marry Gaza residents to fulfil their right to family life inside Israel. Second, the immediate mortal danger and the disruption of life in Gaza are the result of Israeli military action there.