Ayelet Shaked
Ayelet ShakedYonatan Sindel/Flash90

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked (Yamina) responded Friday to criticism by the Haaretz newspaper that she was not allowing Palestinian Authority Arabs to "reunite" with their families in pre-1967 Israel.

"The Haaretz editorial is mistaken," Shaked said. "Even if the temporary instruction did not pass because of political exercises, I am charged with guarding Israel's gates of entry, by dint of my authority as Interior Minister."

"That the law was brought down is a very serious event, but it is unthinkable that as a result of this I should endanger Israel's citizens," she emphasized. "Therefore, my obligation is to formulate a responsible policy before [issuing] any entry permit, and that's what I will do."

In a Friday editorial entitled, "The Israeli Interior Minister Is Cynically Violating Palestinian Rights," Haaretz wrote, "Over two months ago, the Knesset voted against extending the emergency order that allowed the state to prevent Palestinians from the territories coming to live in Israel with their Israeli Arab spouses – but Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked doesn’t care."

"Shaked doesn’t want to bid farewell to the law that allowed Israel to discriminate against Arab Israelis for 18 years on security pretexts. So what did the minister do? She ordered the Population and Immigration Authority to ignore the expiration of the order, and handle family unification requests according to the legal situation that prevailed when the order was still in force.

"She found a fine ploy: instead of an emergency order, a ministerial order. Palestinians who turned to the population authority either received no response at all or were told: 'At this time we cannot make new appointments until additional instructions are received.'"

"Supposedly, Shaked ordered the population authority to act as if the law were still valid not because of her staunch opposition to granting legal status to Palestinians married to Israelis," Haaretz claimed. The site added, "Shaked and her ministry officials simply need time 'to formulate a policy.' How much time? No way of knowing."

The editorial noted that a number of Palestinian Authority Arabs have turned to the Jerusalem District Court, and demanded that the court "should order Shaked to cease instructing her ministry to waste time, even if it is not to her liking or the liking of the coalition."

"The Interior Ministry should examine every request for legal status of family members of Israelis on an individual basis, without discrimination. The attempt at evasion by bureaucratic means is wrong, contemptible and illegal," Haaretz concluded.