Family unification

“Family unification” (sometimes called lem shaml in Arabic) refers to the process that Palestinians who have legal status in Israel, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), or the Gaza Strip undergo to apply for legal status for immediate family members who do not have this status. Once obtained, that status then allows the spouse or child to live legally within the Israeli municipal borders of Jerusalem with the other family member or members who hold legal status.

“Family reunification” or “family reunion” are terms used by international bodies and organizations. These terms are defined by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as the “process of bringing together family members, particularly children, spouses and elderly dependents.” In the Israeli system, while family reunification was the original term used, this has more commonly come to be referred to as family unification today.