Foreigners in the West Bank must notify the Israeli Defense Ministry if they fall in love with a Palestinian, according to the latest rules.
If they married, they would be required to leave the territory after 27 months, during a waiting period of at least six months.
This obligation is part of a tightening of the rules for foreigners living or wishing to visit the West Bank.
Palestinians and NGOs in Israel accuse the Israeli government of “taking the restrictions to a new level.
This new regulation will come into force from Monday (05/09).
Regulations outlined in many of the documents include a requirement for foreigners to report to Israeli authorities if they have a relationship with a citizen with a Palestinian identity card, within 30 days of the start of the relationship.
There are also new restrictions on Palestinian universities, including quotas for 150 student visas and 100 foreign professors, while there is no such limit for Israeli universities.
Employers and aid organizations say they will also be hard hit. The rules establish strict restrictions on visa durations and visa extensions, which in many situations prevent people from working or volunteering in the West Bank for more than a few months.
“[Aturan] it’s about demographic engineering of Palestinian society and isolating Palestinian society from the outside world,” said Jessica Montell, executive director of Israeli NGO HaMoked, which challenged the settlement in the Israeli High Court. .
“They make it even more difficult for people to come and work in Palestinian institutions, to volunteer, to invest, to teach and learn.”
“One country, two systems”
Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the Middle East War in 1967. Currently, Cogat, a unit of Israel’s Ministry of Defense, is in charge of administering its occupation of Palestinian territories.
Cogat’s new 97-page rule is titledProcedures for foreigners entering and staying in the Judea and Samaria region– the biblical name that Israel uses for the West Bank. The settlement was first published in February, but its socialization has been delayed.
Israel says the restrictions are necessary for its security. (Getty Pictures)
The document says the regulations are intended to “define the level of authority and how it is handled for applications from foreigners seeking to enter the territory of Judea and Samaria.”
The document cites interim peace agreements reached in the 1990s, which required Israel’s approval to grant residency permits to spouses and children of Palestinian residents in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as to approve visitor’s permits .
The new rules do not apply to those visiting Israel and Palestinian-controlled parts of the West Bank, or Jewish settlements. In such a situation, the entry procedure involves the Israeli immigration authorities.
The PLO – the umbrella body representing the Palestinian people – said the document contained “apartheid regulations that impose the reality of one state and two different systems”.
The BBC contacted Cogat for a response but received no response. Israeli authorities say the travel restrictions to the territory are necessary for security reasons.
Israel’s long-standing ban on granting residency status to foreign spouses of Palestinians in the West Bank means that thousands of people continue to live with uncertain legal status.
The campaign group Right to Enter complained that “the discriminatory, cruel and arbitrary practices of the Israeli authorities” had caused “enormous humanitarian problems” for foreign couples, who had forcibly separated them from their families in the West Bank.
He said the new procedure would only ‘formalize and exacerbate many of the existing restrictions’ and ‘will force many families to move or live abroad in order to maintain their family unit’.
Some categories of visits to relatives are not listed in the new rules at all, including visits to siblings, grandparents and grandchildren.
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Under the Erasmus+ programme, 366 European higher education students and staff visited the West Bank in 2020. At the same time, 1,671 Europeans were in Israeli institutions.
“While Israel itself benefits greatly from Erasmus+, the Commission believes that it should facilitate and not hinder students’ access to Palestinian universities,” said European Commissioner Mariya Gabriel.
HaMoked’s petition to the High Court was followed by 19 people.
Bassim Khoury, CEO of a Palestinian pharmaceutical company in the West Bank, said his ability would be severely limited to bring in employees, investors, suppliers and quality control experts from abroad due to visa restrictions and restrictions. Trip costs.
The new rules state that foreign visitors arriving with special permits from the West Bank are required to travel overland through Jordan and can only use Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport in exceptional cases.
One of Khoury’s main investors is Jordanian, and the new rules completely exclude citizens of Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Bahrain and South Sudan – even if those countries maintain diplomatic relations with Israel.
Passport holders from these countries – including dual nationals – can only enter the West Bank in exceptional and humanitarian cases for a limited time.
Another signatory to the petition is Dr Benjamin Thomson, who runs the Canadian charity Keys to Health, which sends medical professors from North America and the UK to train Palestinian doctors.
“Anyone involved in working in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is used to certain administrative delays in obtaining permits,” he said.
“These new regulations compound those delays, increase costs and reduce the predictability of travel to and from the West Bank.
“This predictability is key to being able to do charitable work in the West Bank while still being able to continue” [melakukan pekerjaan berbayar] beyond,” he continued. He argued that the new rules could prevent doctors employed elsewhere from volunteering.
In July, the High Court dismissed a motion over the rule as “premature”, saying Cogat had not yet made a “final decision” on the matter. However, no announced changes to the procedure have been officially posted online or its implementation is planned.
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