| 18 May 2024, Saturday |

Israel fails to extend ‘racist’ family reunification law

Members of the Israeli Knesset failed last night to pass the extension of the controversial family reunification law, which bans Palestinian citizens of Israel from bringing family members who live in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip into Israel to live with them, even if they are their children or partners.

The motion to extend the bill for six months, instead of the usual one year, received 59 votes with 59 votes against it. Two of the four parliamentarians from the Islamic Movement led by Mansour Abbas, which is part of the government coalition, abstained from the vote.

While an MK from Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party votes against the motion, in what has been seen as a withdrawal of confidence in the coalition.

Between 1993 and 2003, about 130,000 Palestinians were issued Israeli citizenship after they were reunited with their spouses, raising demographic concerns in Israel.

“The security establishment’s assessment is that some 200,000 Palestinians would gain Israeli citizenship or residency each decade were it not for this legislation,” Israeli TV Channel 12 reported.

“The opposition, led by Bibi and [Joint List MK Ahmad] Tibi, didn’t manage to topple the government, but together they dealt a severe blow to Israel’s security,” Yamina said in a statement.

“This is petty politics at the expense of Israeli citizens. This is the reason they’re in the opposition, and that’s where they’ll stay. For Bibi, if he’s not in power, the state can go up in flames,” the statement added.