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Israel Supreme Court upholds law restricting Palestinian family reunification

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of Israel [official website] on Sunday issued a 6-5 decision upholding the legality the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law [text], which limits the rights of Palestinians to live in Israel. The law, passed by the Knesset [official website] in 2002, allows only Palestinian women 25 years or older and men 35 years or older to join their families in Israel and eventually be eligible for full citizenship. In its opinion, the majority held that the law does not infringe upon the constitutional rights of Israelis, and if it does, that harm is "measured." The court's minority wrote that the law violates the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Liberty [text] by infringing on the right to family life [Jerusalem Post report].

The petitioners challenging the law say it impermissably interferes with their right to have a Palestinian family in Israel, while the Israeli government says the law exists to prevent terrorist attacks. Critics call the law racist, saying that it is motivated by a desire to maintain a Jewish majority of Israel's population. Israel's State Prosecutor said that the state has granted 6,000 of the 22,000 family reunification applications received since a 1993 peace agreement between Palestine and Israel. AP has more. Haaretz has local coverage.

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