The Bureaucracy of a Second Dispossession: A Personal Account of Returning to Jerusalem
East Jerusalem
Israeli Ministry of Interior
Wadi al-Joz
center of life
permanent residency
lam shame
ethnic cleansing

This article explores the author’s bureaucratic ordeal returning to Jerusalem from exile and applying for lam shamel (family unification) to live with her husband, a Palestinian born, raised, and living in Jerusalem with an Israeli-issued “permanent residency” identification card. It traces the couple’s unsuccessful and painstaking attempts at the Israeli Ministry of Interior in Wadi al-Joz to secure their rights to reside in the city. Using an arbitrary “checklist,” Israeli authorities repeatedly rejected their application for failing to meet the so-called center of life requirements, despite presenting them with many documents undeniably proving otherwise. The article posits that the Israeli occupiers deliberately put these restrictive measures in place to continually dispossess Palestinians from their native lands.

Author biography: 

D. A. Jaber is a visiting assistant professor in human rights and international law at Al-Quds Bard College, Jerusalem.