Israel breaks up checkpoint wedding to challenge citizenship laws
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces on Saturday broke up a wedding procession organized at a West Bank checkpoint to challenge Israeli laws preventing Palestinians in the West Bank from living with their spouses in Israel.
Two buses left from Jaffa and Ramallah to meet at opposite sides of Hizma checkpoint, northeast of Jerusalem, for the wedding of Hazim, from Abu Dis and his bride, who is from Nazareth.
Both buses were stopped by Israeli forces before reaching the checkpoint and Israeli forces fired sound bombs at guests who had begun singing and dancing on the West Bank side of Hizma, an organizer told Ma'an.
"While they were dancing and singing for the groom, Israeli occupation forces started throwing sound bombs and pushing people back. They then fired tear gas, forcing people to run away," organizer Najwan Berekdar said.
Over 200 people participated in the wedding, including founder of the Palestinian National Initiative Mustafa Barghouthi and Palestinian author Rima Nazzal Kitana.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that "100 rioters at Hizma threw stones at security services, who used riot dispersal means, including tear gas, to disperse the riot."
The wedding was organized by the "Love in the Time of Apartheid" campaign, a grassroots initiative set up by Palestinian youth to challenge the Citizenship and Entry into Israel law, which denies residency status in Israel for West Bank Palestinians married to Israeli-Palestinians.
"This Israeli law challenges Palestinian national unity and prevents Palestinians from even considering marrying another Palestinian from the other side," Berekdar said.
"It divides Palestinians not only geographically but nationally, socially and culturally and has a severe economic and psychological effect on Palestinian families.
"We are calling for international pressure from the UN and civil society groups to put pressure on Israel to revoke this racist law, which interferes with basic human things like choosing a future life partner," Berekdar added.
The Citizenship and Entry into Israel law was enacted by the Israeli Knesset in 2003, and prohibits granting residency or citizenship to Palestinians from the occupied territories who are married to Palestinian citizens of Israel, Adalah says.
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website says the temporary order is "security orientated" and enacted after people took advantage of Israeli identity to carry out "terrorist attacks."
Human Rights Watch has said that "the law violates Israel's obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, which applies not only to race but also to national or ethnic origin."
The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in 2003 called on Israel to revoke the law.