While answering this Q, I ran into the following claim by Israeli government, cited by a Haaretz article "Gov't seeks to extend order that can curb Arab family reunification"

... on the grounds of "increasing involvement by Palestinians from the region [i.e. the PA - Shahar Ilan] with Israeli identification cards as a result of family reunification, who exploited their status in Israel to engage in terror activities."

Is the bolded claim true?

  1. Is it cited correctly from the actual claim made by Israeli government in the context of the reunification law?

  2. If so, is the government's claim true in that Palestinians from the PA with family re-unification based IDs engaged in terror activities, pre-2003, with "increased involvement"?

I'd prefer something more numerous than 1-2 anecdotes (to test the claim in context), although technically speaking even 2 examples would make the claim technically "true" if prior involvement was 0.


1 Answer 1



Here is a summery of the ISA (Shabak) of the first 4 years of the second Intifada. In it they have a section about Palestinians who got Israeli citizenship through family reunification (pg. 18-19). The report states:

מתחילת שנת 2001 ועד שנת 2004 נחשפו/נעצרו בידי ישראל 23 פלסטינים שקיבלו תעודת זהות ישראלית או אישורי שהייה בישראל במסגרת תהליך איחוד משפחות (אחמ"שים), שגויסו בידי תשתיות הטרור בשטחים והיו מעורבים בביצוע ותכנון פיגועים ביעדים ישראליים בתחומי הקו הירוק.

בפועל, היו מעורבים אחמ"שים ב- 3 פיגועי התאבדות בהם נהרגו 16 אזרחים ישראלים.

Which translates to:

From the start of 2001 until 2004 23 Palestinians who got Israeli citizenship or residence through the family reunification process (FRs), were uncovered/arrested for being recruited by the terror infrastructure in the territories [West Bank and Gaza] and were involved in committing and planning terror attacks against Israeli targets within the Green Line.

In total FRs were involved in 3 suicide bombings which killed 16 Israeli citizens.

About the part that they take in the attacks:

מעורבותם של האחמ"שים בפח"ע באה לידי ביטוי במספר אופנים: כמפגעים הנוטלים חלק בביצוע/בתכנון פיגועים, כמובילי מפגעים מטעם ארגוני הטרור ב"שטחים", כסייענים לוגיסטיים הממלאים מגוון משימות, לרבות איסוף מידע על יעדים לביצוע פיגועים והחדרת אמל"ח, כאותרים וגייסים של פעילים נוספים מקרב ערביי ישראל.

The involvement of FRs in terror activity manifests in several ways: as terrorists taking part in the execution/planing of attacks, as transporters of terrorists on behalf of the terror organizations in the territories, as logistical supporters fulfilling a variety of missions including collecting information of targets for attacks or weapon smuggle, as recruiters of additional activists among the Israeli Arabs.

And the report gives prominent examples to the involvement of FRs in terror attacks:

שאדי טובאסי – גויס בידי התארגנות חמא"ס בג'נין/שומרון, וביצע בשליחותם את פיגוע ההתאבדות במסעדת "מצה" בחיפה, בו נהרגו 15 ישראלים (31 מרץ 2002). שאדי היה בעל תעודת זהות ישראלית, כתוצאה מאחמ"ש שקיבל אביו, יליד השומרון, שנישא לאמו, תושבת מוקיבלה/נצרת. יצויין כי שאדי גדל והתגורר בשומרון, עובדה שחיזקה את מניעיו והקלה על גיוסו בידי פעילי חמא"ס באזור.

Shadi Tubasi - recruited by the Hamas organization in Jenin/Samaria, and executed the Matza restaurant suicide bombing in Haifa killing 15 Israelis (March 31st, 2002). Shadi had an Israeli id as a result of FR of his father, born in Samaria, who merried his mother, resident of Nazareth. It should be noted that Shadi was raised and lived in Samaria, a fact that made his recruitment easier by the local Hamas activists.

מחמד מצרי – מצרי היה בעל ת.ז. ישראלית לאחר נישואי אמו, במוצאה מאזור קלקיליה, לאביו, אזרח ישראלי מג'לג'וליה. מצרי הוכוון בידי תשתית הג'יהאד האסלאמי בטול כרם. במסגרת פעילותו היה אמור להכניס מכונית תופת מהגדה לישראל, ולפוצצה. הפיגוע יועד להתבצע בתחנת אוטובוס הממוקמת מול בסיס צבאי. זמן קצר לפני המועד בו היה אמור לחכות למחבל המתאבד ולהכניסו לישראל, נעצר מצרי במרץ 2003 על ידי גורמי הביטחון.

Mahmad Mazri - Mazri had an Israeli Id after the marriage of his mother, from the area of Qalqilya, to his father, an Israeli citizen from Jaljulia. Mazri was directed by the Islamic Jihad infrastructure in Tulkarem. He was supposed to enter a car bomb from the west bank to Israel and to detonate it. The attack was targeted at a bus stop in front of a military base. He was arrested on March 2003, a short time before he was scheduled to wait for the suicide bomber and bring them to Israel.

מחמד מחאגנה – אזרח ישראלי מאום אל פחם המתגורר בג'נין, שקיבל את אזרחותו הישראלית מכוח היותו בן למשפחה שקיבלה אזרחות במסגרת תהליך איחוד משפחות. מחאג'נה נעצר ב – 2 במאי 2003 לאחר שגויס לחמא"ס ונתפס בעת סיועו להובלת הנער מאג'ד צבאח, לביצוע פיגוע ירי בקניון בחדרה.

Mehamed Mehajna - An Israeli citizen from Umm al-Fahm living in Jenin, who got his citizenship by being a member of a family who got their citizenship in a process of family reunification. Mehajna was arrested on May 2nd after being recruited to Hamas and was caught during his help with the transportation of the teenager Majd Zabah, on his way to commit a shooting attack in a shopping mall in Hadera.

סאמר אטרש – במוצאו מחברון, תושב מחנה הפליטים שועאפט, בעל ת.ז. ירושלמית כחולה על רקע איחוד משפחות, נעצר ב- 14 ביוני 2003 לאחר שתפקד כמוביל המחבל המתאבד לפיגוע שבוצע מטעם תשתית החמאס בקו 6 בגבעה הצרפתית, בו נהרגו 6 אזרחים ישראלים ו- 20 נפצעו. כמו כן נהרג בפיגוע אזרח זר.

Samer Atrah - Originaly from Hebron, resident of the Shoafat Refugee camp with an Israeli id after family reunification, arrested on June 14th, after transporting the suicide bomber for a terror attack made by Hamas infrastructure on bus no. 6 in the French Hill [a neighborhood in Jerusalem], killing 6 Israeli citizens and injuring 20, in the attack one foreign citizen was killed as well.

The document is in Hebrew, all the English text was translated by me. Where braces ([]) appear in the text, they contain a clarification note by me that doesn't appear in the original text. I have probably misspelled the Arab names.

The source talks about a 4 year period which ends in 2004, after the aforementioned law was passed, and it doesn't give all of the instances (23) that it mentions in the summery, so we don't know how many of them happened before the law passed and how many after. But we do know how many of the specific examples happened before the law passed. The law was passed by the Israeli Knesset on July 31st, 2003 meaning all of the four specific examples given by the source predate the law. As explained in the original bil The law is based on a previous Israeli government decision from may 12th, 2002. The first example (The Matza restaurant bombing) happened a month and a half before it.

  • I wonder how many of those arrests resulted in convictions (an arrest shows suspicion, not guilt). 3 suicide bombings, it is more numerous than 1–2 anecdotes as requested in the OP, but not by much.
    – gerrit
    Jul 1, 2015 at 14:05
  • It talks about 3 succesful suicide bombings. The second and third example talk about attacks that were prevented. Also, not all actions may be related to a specific attack. Collecting inteligence and recruiting others isn't specificly linked to a single specific attack.
    – SIMEL
    Jul 1, 2015 at 14:29
  • I don't mean the criticise the answer, I just find the numbers involved not overwhelming in context of the measures taken; but that is a political and not a factual comment from my side.
    – gerrit
    Jul 1, 2015 at 15:10
  • @gerrit - well, for context, you need to compare to #s of people who want to reunify with spouses and are not permitted. If it's 500,000 vs 4 examples, different from 100 and 4 examples
    – user5341
    Jul 1, 2015 at 18:53

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