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Gay Palestinian Finally Granted Asylum in Israel


Trying to make it work in a fractured system finally paid off—after five years.

An unidentified gay Palestinian man who fled the West Bank for fear of violence has finally been given official permission to remain in Israel—after being arrested six times, three of which occurred in just the last week.

The timeline goes like this: When he first arrived in Israel five years ago after running for his life, the man was granted a temporary residence permit by the Israeli Defense Force's (IDF) Civil Administration. But when that permit expired—because of a breakdown between various state departments, he could not immediately secure a new permit—he ran into lots more trouble.

The Times of Israel quoted the man's lawyer as saying:

“My client, and others fleeing to Israel for asylum and protection, are recognized by the state and are given permits. Nonetheless, because the issuing of permits is not coordinated between the police and the Civil Administration there often results a gap of several weeks in which they do not have a permit. Due to this, they end up getting arrested and have to stand trial."

Then, add the complication that the Israeli police are specifically trained to look for and arrest any undocumented Palestinians as a security measure. This is what led to the man's multiple arrests in such a short amount of time.

Now comes the happy ending, of sorts, if not being arrested a seventh time can qualify as a happy ending: After his most recent arrest this week in Tel Aviv, the Palestinian's case was punched up to Israel's High Court of Justice, which considered his particular circumstances and allowed him to stay in Israel indefinitely, and unconditionally. 

The Times article goes on to quote the police force's response:

“The police are carrying out comprehensive operations to enhance security. This includes, among other things, arresting Palestinians defined as illegal aliens, and prosecuting them. Issuing permits that recognize the legal status of these illegal residents is not the responsibility of the police."


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Dan Heching, CNN