Current Affairs

Israel grants visa to gay Palestinian

Susan Phu March 26, 2008
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A Palestinian homosexual was granted an extraordinary Israeli temporary residential visa, after it was claimed he faced persecution and possible danger if he remained in the West Bank, it was revealed yesterday.

After failed attempts to gain a visa through the Israeli Interior Ministry – a process which can take years – the man was granted a visa after he applied directly to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF).

The unnamed 33-year-old Palestinian from Jenin is planning a reunion with his Israeli partner in Tel Aviv once he gets his documents.

They have been appealing for a visa for five years.

The permit was issued by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major General Yosef Mishlav, whose agency falls under the defence ministry.

Mishalv’s office stressed that “the permit has been issued to the applicant as an exception, until the Interior Ministry rules on the matter.”

As such, the man needs to be reissued with a new visa on a monthly

basis, until a final decision can be made.

Homosexuality remains a taboo practice in the Muslim-populated areas of the West Bank cities and gay men face persecution or violence.

Israelis have a more tolerant attitude towards gays and their country is regarded as an oasis of tolerance in the region.

Same-sex marriages conducted abroad are recognised, Israel allows foreign partners of gay citizens to receive residency permits and there is a range of legislation protecting LGBT people.

However, some ultra-Orthodox Jews oppose Gay Pride parades in Jerusalem.

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