Friday, January 27, 2012

Palestinian families denied rights by Israel’s racist marriage laws

 One used to be able to take the Hijaz railway from Akka to Jenin and then to Nablus. The railway, built by Sultan Abdel Hamid II at the turn of the twentieth century, was intended to consolidate his own power over the Ottoman Empire, but perhaps its more lasting impact was to unify the inhabitants of Palestine.

Jenin and Akka are less than 50 kilometers away from each other, but in order to travel between the two cities one must pass through a military checkpoint positioned between the wall Israel is building in the West Bank and the rest of historic Palestine.  
The “security” pretext
In 2006, Taiseer and Lana were married, allowing her for the first time to be granted a permit to visit her husband and his family at their home in Akka. Before that, Taiseer routinely visited Lana at her home in Jenin. But upon marrying Taiseer, Lana did not receive citizenship, nor could she begin an application for citizenship. 
In 2003, when Taiseer and Lana met, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed a temporary law that forbade Palestinians from becoming Israeli citizens upon marrying an Israeli. Called the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law, the law was introduced under the pretext of security — despite there being scant evidence that suggests Palestinian spouses are threats to Israel. More