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Gay Palestinian can stay in Israel

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A gay Palestinian who fled vengeful kinsmen for Israel won temporary residency rights.

The 33-year-old from the Jenin area won a temporary resident’s permit from Israel’s military authorities, Yediot Achronot reported Tuesday. He illegally moved to Tel Aviv this month and is living with an Israeli boyfriend.

The Palestinian, who says he cannot return to the West Bank as his relatives will kill him, has filed for permanent residency with Israel’s Interior Ministry.

The case is exceptional both in its preliminary recognition of a same-sex relationship and the fact that the appellant is Palestinian.

Dozens of Palestinian gays are believed to have sneaked into Israel in recent years, escaping the ultra-conservative mores of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, where homosexuality is punishable by prison time. In Arab society, gays are often killed by their kin for having “sullied the family’s honor.”

Israel has largely turned a blind eye to the sexual refugees, though undocumented Palestinians are regularly rounded up and deported as potential security threats.

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