NEW REPORT: “Stripping Citizenship: The Impact of the Citizenship Law Amendments on Palestinian Families in Israel”

Mohammad Zeidan, HRA General Director, presents the new report to local Arabic media representatives in the HRA’s Nazareth office

Nazareth – The Arab Association for Human Rights (HRA)  would like to announce the release of our newest report. “Stripping Citizenship: The Impact of the Citizenship Law Amendments on Palestinian Families in Israel” represents an effort to tell the story of the human impact of Israel’s discriminatory Citizenship Law. The report researched and reported by Samih Ganadri and published by the HRA in Arabic and English.  We are proud to present what we believe to be an accurate reflection of the personal tragedies caused by the law in question.

Specifically, “Stripping Citizenship” is a critique of the May 2002 amendments to the “Citizenship and Entry into Israel” law.  Under the law, Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel cannot obtain citizenship for the person they choose to marry if this person is from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. In addition to this core ruling, the amendments – which are ostensibly temporary and have been renewed annually since their inception – install exhaustive bureaucratic measures which prevent families from living together and create numerous barriers for visitation.  The report details briefly the legal case against the amendments but focuses on exploring how the intricacies of the ruling affect individuals.

The stories in this report are tragic and heart wrenching.  One woman, Nellie Abu Qa’od, was happily married in Jaffa when the law was passed.  Under the auspices of this new legislation her husband, Samir Kallab, was arrested and, in her words, “taken from me and our two children and dumped in Gaza. I am a citizen and my husband was no longer a citizen, he had become an ‘intruder’”.  Nellie can only visit Samir after obtaining a permit.  She has only been able to do so twice since his arrest in 2003.  Samir’s daughters have grown up without a father because of the new amendments to the Citizenship Law.

The HRA is proud to present the story of Samir and Nellie, and four others like it, for your consideration in “Stripping Citizenship”.  It is the sincere hope of our organization that these stories help prove the inherent discrimination in the text and application of the “Citizenship and Entry intoIsrael” law.

This afternoon the HRA held a press conference to release the report.  Local and national media outlets were on hand to cover the publication of “Stripping Citizenship”.

“Stripping Citizenship” is available to the public now.  You can pick up physical copies for free in our Nazareth office and over the next week we will be publishing the individual stories in serial updates. They will be published on our websiteour WordPress page, and delivered via the HRA newsletter (sign up here!).  While reading these stories, keep in mind that there are many people suffering similar struggles and that the individuals we present for your consideration represent a much larger issue.

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