The Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon adopted on Monday a law preventing Palestinian spouses of Israeli residents from obtaining Israeli residency.

Sharon said during a meeting at his office with the Justice and security ministers, that “there is no need to hide behind security arguments, there is a need for the existence of a Jewish state”.

The decision approves recommendations by the Israeli National Security Council, which demanded the extension of a temporary law barring Palestinians from obtaining Israeli citizenship under the family unification law, and thus preventing foreign residents, inducing Palestinians, from receiving residency status.

The Israeli government also appointed Interior Minister Ophir Pines-Paz, from the Labor party, to coordinate procedures making it difficult for foreigner to obtain permanent residency in Israel.

Sharon decided to form a committee headed by Ophir Pines-Paz in order to formulate an immigration policy and new legislations barring Palestinian residents from obtaining Israeli citizenship.

The law aims to “maintain the Jewish demography of the State of Israel, and keep it as a Jewish state”, Sharon said.

This law, which accumulates a previous legislation which passed in 2003 barring family reunification, will remain effective until the new legislations are issued.

 Also, further restrictions will be imposed on the entry to Israel in accordance to the residency law.

The Israeli National Security Council predicts that the percentage of Arab residents of Israel will multiply by 2020 and arrive to 40% including Jerusalemite Palestinians.     

The council said that currently 80% of Jerusalem residents are Jews, but this percentage is expected to decline to 60% after 15 years and 27% after 50 years.

According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, 192136 none Jewish families received Israeli citizenship after the Oslo agreement signed with the PLO in 1993.

The paper added that currently there are more than 100.000 Palestinians staying in Israel illegally.

Israeli officials “expressed worries” that this is a backdoor right of return.

Also, Israel believes that residents of poor foreign countries married Israelis in order to enter Israel and improve their financial situation.

Last week, the Israeli High Court issued a ruling recognizing the rights of foreigners who became Jews to obtain Israeli residency in accordance to the Israel “Right of Return” law; the “new residents” will also receive welfare services and rights.