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Palestinian reunification law fails to move to Foreign Affairs Committee, still set for Knesset vote tonight

MKs David Amsalem and David Bitan of Likud at the Arrangements Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on July 5, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
MKs David Amsalem and David Bitan of Likud at the Arrangements Committee meeting at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on July 5, 2021 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The coalition fails to garner enough votes in the Knesset Arrangements Committee to send the controversial Palestinian family reunification legislation to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Amid a fiery hearing, the transfer of the legislation to the FADC has been voted down in the Arrangements Committee 17-14, with Likud and other opposition lawmakers voting against the government despite coalition hopes that some Likud MKs would side with the coalition on the vote.

The coalition had failed in an earlier attempt to move the bill to the FADC, where it presumably believes it has a better chance to control the process. Last month, Arrangements Committee chair Idit Silman (Yamina) postponed a vote on advancing the legislation to the FADC when it became clear that there was no majority to do so.

Despite all this, the contentious bill is still slated to come up for a full Knesset vote later in the day, where the coalition again hopes it will be able to muster a majority.

The law, which blocks the automatic granting of Israeli citizenship or residency for Palestinians on the basis of marriage to an Israeli, was first enacted in 2003, and must be extended annually.

It was passed after some 130,000 Palestinians entered Israel under family reunification between 1993 and 2003, Channel 12 says, including during the Second Intifada onslaught of Palestinian terrorism. While the prime concern was that some Palestinians gaining Israeli status would engage in terrorism, there was also a demographic concern: 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, Channel 12 says.

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