‘Love in the time of apartheid’: Israel army prevents ‘symbolic marriage’ near barrier

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The Israeli army prevented a symbolic wedding from being held on Saturday near the West Bank separation barrier aimed at denouncing obstacles to unions between Palestinians and Israeli Arabs, an AFP correspondent said.

The “marriage” was to have been held at an army roadblock between Jerusalem and Ramallah in the West Bank, with an Israeli Arab bride coming from Nazareth in northern Israel.

But the army prevented the bride from arriving at the site and soldiers used stun grenades to disperse about 50 Palestinians who had gathered at the other side of the roadblock, causing no injuries.

The ceremony, planned as part of a campaign run under the theme “Love in the time of apartheid” was organized by Palestinians to denounce what they say are “racist laws that prohibit the reunification of families”.

In January 2012, the Israeli Supreme Court endorsed a law banning Palestinians married to Israeli Arabs from obtaining Israeli citizenship or even residing in the Jewish state.

“This legislation deprives Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip and those with Israeli citizenship the right to family reunion and rights to reside where they wish to, contrary to international law,” organizers said.

Since 1993, more than 100,000 Palestinians have obtained a residency marriage permit in Israel, but these have fallen sharply in recent years, by up to 1,000a year, according to Interior Minister Eli Yshai.

Around 20 percent, or 1.3 million people, in Israel are Israeli Arabs. Among them are some of the 160,000 Palestinians who remained on their land after the creation of Israel in 1948, and their descendants, who complain of discrimination and marginalization.