PHRI filed a petition together with HIAS, the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and the Worker’s Hotline, calling to institute the social security rights of persecuted Palestinians.
Some Palestinians who have fled the OPT in fear for their lives live in Israel. Reasons vary, some are suspected as Israeli collaborators, some have fled over their sexual orientation or gender identity. These individuals are unable to return to their places of origin and are forced to live in Israel, away from their homes, family and whatever support network they might have had.
Israel does not recognize Palestinian refugees, though in some cases, it does recognize they are persecuted and allows them to receive Israeli stay permits through a process of applying to the Persons at Risk Committee or the welfare system of the Civil Administration. These permits only provide legal entry into Israel. They do not allow holders to work in Israel, or give them access to social security rights, including health insurance.
In fact, individuals in this predicament lack any sort of legal status, have no support, no work, no livelihood and no social security, and, unlike other Palestinians with Israeli stay permits, they cannot seek social and medical services from the Palestinian Authority, as they cannot return to its territory. They are unable to access even the meager health care options Israel makes available to other asylum seekers.
Many of these individuals come to PHRI’s open clinic with medical conditions and serious emotional distress. Their lack of regular access to medical care in the community and extreme poverty lead to delayed diagnoses, which in turn, result in expensive, complex treatments and reduced recovery prospects.
We have recently filed a petition together with HIAS, the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants and the Worker’s Hotline, calling to institute the social security rights of Palestinians living in Israel who cannot return to the Palestinian Authority due to threats and persecution. The petition states that the current situation, in which the dignity and human rights of these individuals are not upheld, and they are pushed into a life of sickness, poverty and legal precarity, is unreasonable and unlawful.