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A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z   This menu features recently updated backgrounders on people, places and subjects. To view all backgrounders, click More...
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last updated March 2, 2011 2:27 PM (EST+7)
Citizenship
Read more: 
citizenship, citizenship law, Entry into Israel Law, Law of Return, right of return, refugees, Jewish population, Palestinian population, discrimination, demography, Jewish state

According to Israel's Law of Return (1950), every Jew has the right to come to Israel as an oleh or Jewish immigrant. In conjunction, the citizenship law provides for Israeli citizenship for all Jews that express the desire to settle in Israel.

By contrast, Palestinian refugees in the various Arab-Israel wars have yet to have their right to return to their land recognized by Israel.

The issue of granting citizenship and legal stay in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories is governed by the Citizenship Law and Entry into Israel Law (1952).


EnlargeEthiopian Israelis demonstrate for immigration rights outside the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2010.(AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
Multimedia
BTselem: Palestinians displaced in Gaza war still in tents
May 24, 2009 8:19 AM (EST+7)
Background
Camp David II
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Sheikh Jarrah
Documents
Dec. 2009 Situation Report of the Campaign for the Right to Enter the Occupied Palestinian Territory
Q & A: Palestinian refugees and displaced persons
Law of Return (1950)
Publications
Palestinian Refugees and the Peace Process: An Analysis of Public Opinion Surveys
Poll No. 36 Part I, March 2000 - On Palestinian Attitudes Towards Final Status Issues and Women and Legislation in Palestine
Poll No. 22 Part IV, August 1997 - Concerning some issues relating to Palestinian Refugees
Resources
Law of Return (1950), Knesset official website
“Expulsion of the Palestinians: The Concept of ‘Transfer’ in Zionist Political Thought, 1882-1948” Nur Masalha, Institute for Palestine Studies, 1992
“Survey of Palestinian Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons 2006-2007” Badil, 2007

On July 31, 2003, Israel's Knesset enacted the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) - 5763. This law denies citizenship or residency status to Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip who are married to Israeli citizens. Originally enacted for one year, the Knesset later extended the law until March 31, 2006.

News on Citizenship
Abbas: We don't want to flood Israel with Palestinian refugeesFeb. 18, 2014 1:46 AM (EST+7)
Palestinians refugees again, fleeing Syria for JordanDec. 9, 2012 0:29 AM (EST+7)
UN committee to slam discrimination in IsraelMarch 17, 2012 1:04 PM (EST+7)

The Knesset then passed a new law preserving the family unification restrictions that applied to Palestinians from the OPT, and additionally denying family unification for spouses that are citizens or residents of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq or Iran – all considered "enemy states" according to Israeli law.

The Palestinian population registry and all its data is controlled by Israel. The Palestinian Authority has no authority to grant citizenship or residency, as established by the Oslo agreements.

There are also considerable differences in Israel concerning the status of citizens. Former member of Knesset Azmi Bishara has said that there are two kinds of citizenship in Israel: Arabs that happened to remain in Israel in 1948 were given “incidental” citizenship, whereas Jews are granted “essential” citizenship as a means of maintaining a demographic Jewish majority.


Sources
“Israel, Palestine and the question of citizenship” by Azmi Bishara, February 6, 2004
“Honorary citizenship of the moon” by Amira Hass, Haaretz, January 26, 2009
"Special Report: Ban on Family Unification" by Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel



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