Update – January 12, 2022. Following Gisha’s letter to Israel’s Population Authority, Amal was summoned to its Netanya branch on January 11, where she was told her daughter’s registration had been completed, a birth certificate was issued, and a photo taken of the child to issue her passport. Once the passport is issued, and assuming Israeli authorities grant her a permit to reenter Gaza via Erez Crossing, Amal will, at long last, be able to return to her home in Gaza with her daughter and reunite with her children and partner.

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December 22, 2021. Amal (real name withheld) is a Palestinian citizen of Israel married to a Palestinian resident of Gaza. The two live in Gaza with their three children, aged 4-8 years old. In February of this year, Amal, who was pregnant at the time, entered Israel. In August, she gave birth a baby girl in an Israeli hospital, where a notice of birth was issued, per standard practice, and the baby received an Israeli I.D. number.

In September, Amal went to Israel’s Population Authority offices in Taybeh to register the newborn in the population registry and obtain an Israeli birth certificate and passport for her. This is normally a simple process that should take up to five business days according to the Population Authority website. When Amal reached out a while later to inquire about the status of her application, she was referred to the Population Authority office in Netanya, where she was told her case had been referred to the headquarters in Jerusalem. Since then, she has been repeatedly told that no decision has been made in her case, without explanation as to the cause of the delay.

Amal desperately wants to return with her newborn daughter to her home and family in Gaza. Her requests to enter the Strip with the child were denied by the Israeli authorities given that, without formal registration, Amal cannot prove the familial connection required to obtain a permit for her daughter to enter Gaza. Given Israel’s effective prohibition on Palestinian family unification in Israel, Amal’s spouse and children cannot reunite with her here in Israel.

In a letter sent by Gisha to the Population Authority offices in Natanya on Amal’s behalf, Adv. Sigi Ben Ari wrote: “The unreasonable delay in registering the baby in the population registry not only appears to be tainted by wrongful discrimination in comparison to other citizens, but, in my client’s case, it also leads to a severe violation of her and her baby’s right to family life.”

To read more about other bureaucratic difficulties facing Palestinian citizens of Israel who live in Gaza and wish to register their children in Israel: https://bit.ly/3eiNpom