A 33-year-old gay Palestinian man petitioned the High Court of Justice on Sunday, asking it to grant him permanent residency in Israel so that he may live with his partner, who lives in the central Israeli city of Bat Yam.
The man, a resident of the northern West Bank village of Tamon, further claimed to fear for his life, since his family refuses to accept his sexual orientation and may try to harm him.
Attorneys Yohanna Lerman and Maya Yatziv, for the plaintiff, told the court that the man and his partner met nine years ago, and have been domestic partners ever since.
According to the brief, the Palestinian's family found out about his gay relationship in early 2000 and subsequently warned him that if he did not "reform" he will be killed to save face.
The man chose to continue living with his lover in Israel, unbeknown to his family, but unfortunately, relatives residing in Jaffa informed his father that he was "still hanging out with homosexuals."
Meanwhile, the man's older brother was discovered to be a collaborator, and according to the petition, both family members and other Tamon residents began suspecting the plaintiff was one as well – since he was spending lengthy periods of time in Israel – placing him in even grater danger.
The plaintiff, noted the petition, was arrested in 2002 by security forces for being in Israel without the proper permits. The court recognized his special circumstances, sentencing him to only four months in prison. Once released, he moved to the West Bank city of Bethlehem and continued to stay with his partner as often as possible.
"The sanctity of life is beyond reproach and needs no evidence to back it up. A human life must be protected without distention of race or creed," said the petition.
The plea urged the court to grant the man permanent residency in Israel, since forcing him to return to his village would place him in grave danger.