The “Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law” prohibits Israeli citizens who marry Palestinians from the occupied West Bank or Gaza Strip, or nationals from several other regional states, from living with their spouse in Israel.
“The law affects tens of thousands of Palestinian families on both sides of the Green Line between Israel and the West Bank, preventing Palestinians from legally moving into Israel to join their spouses,” according to Adalah, an advocacy group that has mounted unsuccessful court challenges to the law.
Originally passed as an emergency measure in 2003, the provision has been renewed annually ever since.
The law is part of Israel’s efforts to prevent the growth of the Palestinian population, a fundamentally racist measure justified by Israeli leaders as necessary to maintain a Jewish majority.
Zvi Hauser, the head of the foreign affairs and defense committee of the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, said the renewal was justified by Israel’s recently passed Nation-State of the Jewish People law, which legal advocates say violates international prohibitions on apartheid.
In intent and effect the Israeli citizenship law is no different to the laws that used to exist in apartheid South Africa to prevent miscegenation, the “interbreeding” of people of different races, and to control where Black people could live – laws such as the Group Areas Act and the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act.
While the Israeli law does not ban marriages outright, it does effectively prevent Israeli citizens and Palestinians from exercising their right to family life.
It aims to achieve precisely the same goal, albeit by slightly more subtle means than used by the white supremacists in South Africa, as I explain in my 2014 book The Battle for Justice in Palestine.