Former MK Amnon Rubinstein on Sunday said he agreed with retired justice Mishael Cheshin, who ruled on Sunday that the state may prohibit Palestinians who marry Israelis from living with their spouses in Israel.
"I support the majority decision and specifically the ruling handed down by Cheshin," Rubinstein told The Jerusalem Post
Rubinstein's opinion carries heavy weight because he is head of a government-appointed committee responsible for preparing recommendations for the state's overall policy toward the immigration of non-Jews, including Palestinians, citizens of Arab and other countries hostile to Israel, foreign workers and refugees.
"In no country is there a constitutional right automatically enabling a foreign citizen who marries a local resident to become a resident of that country, and the petitioners did not bring any proof to support that contention," Rubinstein said.
He added that according to international law, the issue of immigration is given over to the sovereign states. It is a fact, he added, that European countries have imposed age and income restrictions on would-be immigrants.
He also said that no country is obliged to allow entry to citizens of an enemy state. Since the government had declared the Palestinian Authority an enemy entity after the victory of the Hamas in the Palestinian Legislative Council elections, Israel clearly had no obligations to Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. "It's an open and shut case," he said.
In the interim recommendations that Rubinstein's committee presented to the government in February, it made a distinction between would-be immigrants from different kinds of countries. For example, citizens from countries and entities, including the PA, that are actively at war with Israel, may be refused entry altogether.
As for citizens of countries whose governments are hostile, the state has the right to assume that they pose a security threat and their applications for permission to enter the country should be carefully investigated. Rubinstein suggested that those seeking residential status should be made to declare loyalty to Israel and recognition of its legitimacy at the beginning of the naturalization process rather than at the end.
Rubinstein said he did not believe his recommendations would be overruled by the High Court even though they are tougher than the current law, which was rejected by six out of 11 justices, even though it obliges the state to consider naturalization applications of Palestinian men older than 35 and women over 25.
He said the difference was that his proposal included principles that would apply universally (in other words, citizens of any country at war with Israel would be denied entry and all naturalization applicants would have to declare an oath of loyalty at the beginning of the process) and was not aimed exclusively at Palestinians.