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Women's Voices: Shireen K. - Family unification

Name: Shireen K.
Age: 31 years old
Location: Silwan, East Jerusalem
Nature of incident: Family reunification
Date of incident:  On going

A 31 year old mother of four children still lives with her family in Silwan in East Jerusalem without the necessary documents which the authorities have not issued yet after 15 years of marriage.
 
Shireen is a 31 year old mother of four children who lives in Silwan in East Jerusalem.
 
“I got married in 2001, when I was 16 years old, at first I lived in Hebron city for one month then my husband and I moved to Bab Al-Magharbeh neighborhood in Jerusalem at Tareq’s aunt’s house, where I lived for eight years and had my four children.”
 
“I was able to move to Jerusalem only because I obtained a renewable three-month permit; this permit limited me to the Jerusalem area, and I was only allowed to use one military check point called “Al-Nafaq”. 
 
“For about nine years I lived in Jerusalem in fear; I couldn’t apply for family reunification because I was younger than 25 years old, thus I was not free to move around.”
 
“I missed many of the family occasions at my parents’ house in Hebron, and also my family couldn’t visit me because they didn’t have a permit to enable them to cross the military check points. Because I wasn’t a Jerusalem ID holder I was not allowed to obtain a driving license or to work inside Israeli.” 
 
“Whenever I or any of my children became sick, and my permit was being renewed, I couldn’t even leave the house and go to the nearest clinic, fearing of being caught by the Israeli police without a permit.”
 
“On 24 November 2016, as I became 25 years old, my husband and I appointed a lawyer and applied for family reunification at the ministry of interior in Jerusalem.”
 
“I was required to submit the following papers; a copy of my birth certificate and my children’s birth certificates, my marriage contract,   my ID, my husband’s ID and many other documents like water and electricity bills to prove that the center of my life was in Jerusalem.”
 
“I was told by the Israeli ministry of interior that they would respond to my application in six months. During this period I had to make sure to keep applying for a permit to cross the checkpoints.”
 
“Six months later the response was that my application is still under review. However we continued to follow up the process of our paper at the ministry of interior in Jerusalem; and every time I go there with my husband I become nervous and afraid.”
 
“Also I had to stay home waiting for a sudden visit by the national insurance employee so they can check and make sure that I live in Jerusalem. In less than two years I had more than 10 sudden visits from them and the process is still going.”
 
“Up until now the family reunification procedure has cost us around 20,000NIS; the lawyer payment, paper work and issuing permits. I still have all the ministry of interior vouchers.”
 
“I currently don’t have a permit, which makes me imprisoned inside my own house. At the end of the month I have to check with the ministry of interior and hopefully this time I will have good news.”
 
“I feel that I am a stranger living in my own country, I don’t have the most basic rights of living with my family and moving freely.”

“For many years now the only thing that I think of is obtaining a temporary residency permit; all because I have a Palestinian ID and my husband has a Jerusalem ID. I feel exhausted and worn out.”


keyword: Jerusalem Women