We want to express our deepest concern towards the recent decision of the Israeli high court regarding the validity of the "citizenship law" of 2003. We are highly concerned with the situation of the Khatib family.
Lana Khatib is a Palestinian woman from Jenin in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. She has a diploma in economics from Al-Najah University in Nablus, she has moved to Israel in 2005 to live with her husband in his home town Acca. Taiseer Khatib is a Ph.D student in Anthropology at the University of Haifa, a teacher at the Western Galilee College, and a conductor of creative writing workshops for young adults in the Freedom Theatre at the Jenin Refugee Camp. They have 2 children (4 and 3 years old) but her residency there is totally dependent on yearly extensions of her permission to stay within the 1967 borders of Israel. She has no legal rights, social rights, health insurance and security. She is not allowed neither to drive nor to hold a job and is thus dependent totally on her husband Taiseer. This situation creates lots of frustration for Lana who used to be independent and worked for about 4 years in the health ministry in Jenin city.
With the recent High Court decision she can never achieve a status of a citizen, and not even a permanent resident. In the best case, she might get a renewal of the permission that enables her only to stay with her family, if she is lucky, and won't lose the mere permission to live in Acca. This is the horrific reality of almost 25,000 families in Israel. In couples where the situation is reversed and the husband is from the Palestinian territories, the separation is absolute as most men are unlikely to get permission to enter/stay in Israel. Women in both situations suffer immense humiliation and hardships. The consequences of such legal loopholes are incredibly difficult to bear.
Moreover, the Khatib's cannot choose to live in Nablus as Mr. Khatib is an Israeli citizen and according to the laws introduced after the Oslo agreement, Israeli citizens are not allowed to live in Palestinian cities which are within the "A" sections of the divided Palestinians territories.
We are highly concerned by this latest Israeli High Court decision and cannot stay indifferent to these recent developments. We expect Israel as a democratic country to recognize her obligations towards the values of human rights. We call the Israeli government and the embassy as the representative of the Israeli government to amend the citizen law and to allow all families in that situation to fully enjoy their human rights. It is indeed the responsibility of the government to guarantee its citizens' and inhabitants' rights.