The Israeli cabinet on Sunday extended the temporary law limiting offering citizenship to Palestinians from the occupied territories married to citizens of Israel, Army Radio reported.
Sixteen ministers voted in favor, two voted against.Ã‚Â
The cabinet is in discussion on proposed amendments to the citizenship law that will make severe restrictions on ‘family reunification’ into permanent law.
An Israeli ministerial committee for legislation approved last Sunday proposed changes in the Citizenship Law that would allow mixed Israeli-Palestinian couples to acquire Israeli citizenship for the Palestinian partner.
The law freezing family unification procedures began as a cabinet decision in May 2002, after which the Interior Ministry stopped accepting new applications or processing those that had already been filed.
In July 2003, the Knesset transformed the decision into a law, in effect for a limited period of time. Since that time, the House has extended the law twice, and it is due to expire at the end of May.
The time limitation was set due to worries that the law, being discriminatory against citizens married to Palestinians, would not pass the scrutiny of the High Court of Justice.
Even as a committee to examine the issue was established, the cabinet plans to ask the Knesset for another extension until the end of the year.
The proposal submitted by interior ministry would allow unification of families where the Palestinian man is over 35 or the Palestinian woman over 25, which is believed to include about 30 percent of the cases.
The new interior minister Pines-Paz has presented a different proposal to the committee, which would allow women older than 20 to submit or advance their application for citizenship, which would encompass 50 percent of the families.