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        General Assembly
22 August 2003

General Assembly
Official Records
Fifty-eighth Session
Supplement No. 18 (A/58/18)

Report of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Sixty-second session (3-21 March 2003)
Sixty-third session (4-22 August 2003)



B. Decisions adopted by the Committee at its sixty-third session


Decision 2 (63)


The Committee is concerned about Israel’s Temporary Suspension Order of May 2002, enacted into law as the Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) on 31 July 2003, which suspends, for a renewable one-year period, the possibility of family reunification, subject to limited and discretionary exceptions, in cases of marriage between an Israeli citizen and a person residing in the West Bank or Gaza. The Committee notes with concern that the Suspension Order of May 2002 has already adversely affected many families and marriages.

The Nationality and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Order) of 31 July 2003 raises serious issues under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The State party should revoke this law and reconsider its policy with a view to facilitating family unification on a non-discriminatory basis. It should provide detailed information on this issue in its next periodic report.

1599th meeting
14 August 2003


Annex VII



Decision 2 (63) on Israel *

The following letter was addressed to the Chairman of the Committee on 14 August 2003 by the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations Office at Geneva:

“Dear Sir,

“I am writing to you with reference to your letter of 11 August 2003 addressed to Mr. T. Israeli, informing us of the decision taken by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to hold an urgent discussion under its early warning and urgent procedures, regarding Israel’s recent amendment to the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (Temporary Provision) of 31 July 2003.

“Israel is surprised and shocked by such a decision and views the Committee’s initiative as being highly politicized, demonstrating a biased approach which singles out Israel. This is particularly troubling given the fact that Israel, by its own initiative, with a view to engaging in a constructive dialogue with the Committee, similar to that conducted with several other treaty bodies in the past two years, has approached the Committee in order to coordinate an agreed date for the submission and consideration of its periodic reports due.

“In fact, only three weeks ago, on 24-25 July, a professional delegation consisting of eight Israeli experts, headed by the Permanent Representative, had responded in great detail to another treaty body, the Human Rights Committee, presenting substantive and detailed reasoning, inter alia, for the above temporary legislation, which attests to the legislation’s compliance with existing international law and practice. Israel has also provided statistics relating to numerous concrete instances where the granting of a legal status to Palestinian spouses of Israeli residents has, in fact, been abused by Palestinian residents of the territories for suicide terrorism.

“Furthermore, this matter is currently still being reviewed and scrutinized by Israel’s highest judicial instance, the Supreme Court sitting as High Court of Justice, and the domestic internal proceedings have not yet been exhausted.

“Following an informal meeting with the Secretary of the CERD Committee on 28 July 2003, Israel informed the Chairperson of the Committee, in a letter dated 4 August 2003, that it is in the final stages of preparation of its periodic report, and of its intention to submit no later than December this year a comprehensive and combined periodic report, in addition to its willingness to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Committee as soon as possible afterwards.

“In light of the above, the Committee’s decision to pre-empt and undermine the normal process of reporting, cannot be seen other than being extremely politicized and counterproductive, casting serious doubts on the Committee’s bona fides in its entire treatment of Israel. This approach is even more striking in view of existing similar laws and practices in several other States parties to the [Convention], with regard to which the Committee has not chosen to invoke any similar mode of action.

“Yours sincerely,

“[Signed]: Yaakov Levy

The following reply was sent by the Chairman of the Committee on 18 August 2003 to the Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations Office at Geneva:


“With reference to your letter of 14 August 2003, I have the honour to transmit to you herewith decision 2 (63) adopted by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination at its 1599th meeting, on 14 August 2003.

“As you are aware, this decision was adopted by the Committee, by consensus, in the exercise of its responsibilities under its urgent action procedure. In this connection, I wish to emphasize that, by adopting the above-mentioned decision, the Committee in no way intended ‘to pre-empt and undermine’ the normal process of reporting as alleged in your letter. The Committee remains committed to its task of monitoring the implementation of its constituent instrument, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. The Committee strongly rejects any allegation that, in doing so, it did not act with full independence and impartiality in accordance with its mandate.

“Accept, Sir, the assurances of my highest consideration.


“[Signed]: Ion Diaconu
“Chairman, Committee
on the Elimination of Racial



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