Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Palestinian moves to Israel for his boyfriend

Jerusalem, March 25 2008

A gay Palestinian man has been reunited with his Israeli partner after Israel granted him permission to move from the occupied West Bank to Tel Aviv, an official said on Tuesday.

"We granted a temporary permit to this Palestinian because his lawyer said his life was in danger in his community because of his sexual tendencies," said Peter Lerner, spokesperson for the Israeli military authorities that administer the West Bank.

The 33-year-old from the northern West Bank town of Jenin had applied to Israel's interior ministry years ago for a permit to rejoin his lover of eight years but this was denied, Israel's mass-selling Yediot Aharonot said.

It is generally very difficult for Palestinians living in the West Bank to obtain permits to travel to Israel.

The daily did not report the names of either man, saying only that the Israeli was a computer engineer in his 40s.

In a letter to Major General Yossef Mishlav, a top official with the military authorities which administer the West Bank, the Palestinian said he had received death threats since his family discovered his relationship.

Homosexuality is forbidden in Islam and Judaism but Israel legalised homosexual behaviour in 1988 and last month recognised the right of same-sex couples to adopt children.

After a lengthy interrogation with Israel's Shin Beth internal security service, the Palestinian was quoted in the paper as saying, "There's nothing wrong with me. All I want is to be with my boyfriend."

Lerner stressed the permit is renewable every month, pending a final ruling by Israel's interior ministry.

"He asked for a long-term residence permit under the family reunification legislation but only the interior ministry can grant that status," the spokesperson said.

Yediot Aharonot quoted the Israeli man as saying the two had hoped for a five-year permit. "I'm suffering from a heart disease and need my partner beside me," he is reported to have said. (IOL)


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