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US cheers Israel’s plans to recognize undocumented Palestinian spouses

The US praises Israel’s renewed engagement with the Palestinians, after Defense Minister Benny Gantz announces a plan to recognize thousands of undocumented Palestinian spouses. Gantz also met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas this week, in the first meeting of its kind between the sides in over a decade.

“The US is pleased to see Israel and the Palestinian Authority working together to yield positive results, including an agreement to regularize the status of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank. We look forward to more such tangible steps in the months ahead,” a State Department statement says.

Gantz announced on Monday that Israel plans to legalize thousands of undocumented foreign nationals married to Palestinians as part of an overall Israeli strategy to strengthen the Palestinian Authority.

Palestinian spouses have resided illegally in the West Bank for years with little legal recourse to obtain permits to live with their families. Israeli courts have ruled that family unification in the West Bank is not a right guaranteed by international law.

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