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  • ACRI

Providing Status to Female Palestinian Victims of Domestic Violence

On May 6, 2024, we filed a legal petition (Hebrew) regarding the format of processing applications for providing legal status, on humanitarian grounds, submitted by Palestinian women who married an Israeli spouse and suffer from domestic violence. The petition was joined by Physicians for Human Rights, Woman to Woman, Women Against Violence, Women's Spirit, Itach-Ma'aki and HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual.

Palestinian women who marry an Israeli citizen or permanent resident, depend on the Israeli "sponsor" – the father or parent – to arrange their status. In circumstances of violence, this dependence creates a terrible catch: if they separate, they lose their status or the residence permit and the accompanying social benefits. As a result, the individuals can attempt to regulate their status only through the humanitarian channel, which does not provide a quick enough response.

Two years ago, the law stipulated the establishment of a dedicated humanitarian committee to handle applications for status of women and children victims of domestic violence. The designated committee was supposed to convene in a separate panel and respond to these requests within three months of the submission of all documents – compared to "normal" waiting times of one and a half to four years, on average, for the regular humanitarian committee.

However, the Minister of the Interior and the Population Authority effectively ignored the new lenient directive, and the designated committee was not established. Waiting times remain endless, and stateless women who remain single mothers without sources of subsistence or support are often forced into prostitution, return to contact with their violent partner, lose custody of their children, are often harmed again – physically and emotionally, and do not receive care and social assistance.

In the petition, we demanded the establishment of a dedicated and separate panel of the committee that would specialize in domestic violence, as required by law, and meet the shortened timeframe of three months. We also demanded that if the response is not provided within three months, as required by law, every victim awaiting a decision by the designated committee will be given a temporary permit.

AP 16288-05-24 Association for Civil Rights in Israel v. Minister of the Interior

Attorney Reut Shaer


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