High Court ruling ends gay Palestinian’s asylum nightmare

Lack of coordination between authorities led to permit problems and multiple arrests, expulsion threats

Lee Gancman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The pride parade in Tel Aviv, June 2010. (photo credit: Omer Messinger/Flash90)
The pride parade in Tel Aviv, June 2010. (photo credit: Omer Messinger/Flash90)

A gay Palestinian man seeking asylum in Israel has reportedly been assured that he will not be sent back to the West Bank after the High Court of Justice intervened, ending a years-long saga during which he was arrested repeatedly.

According to an Army Radio report Thursday, the unnamed Palestinian came to Israel five years ago from the West Bank after fleeing for his life, and was given a temporary residence permit by the IDF’s Civil Administration.

Yet, a lack of coordination between authorities has resulted in delays in the issuing of new permits for him, and he has thus been arrested six times, three in the past week alone, on suspicion of being an illegal alien.

After his most recent arrest in Tel Aviv, the man’s case was referred to the High Court of Justice, which acknowledged the life-threatening circumstances and released him unconditionally, allowing him to stay in the country even without a permit, the report said.

“My client, and others fleeing to Israel for asylum and protection, are recognized by the state and are given permits. Nonetheless, because the issuing of permits is not coordinated between the police and the Civil Administration there often results a gap of several weeks in which they do not have a permit. Due to this, they end up getting arrested and have to stand trial,” Hagai Kalai, the man’s lawyer, said.

Police said in response: “The police are carrying out comprehensive operations to enhance security. This includes, among other things, arresting Palestinians defined as illegal aliens, and prosecuting them. Issuing permits that recognize the legal status of these illegal residents is not the responsibility of the police.”

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