[News] Israel Admits To Cancelling Residency Rights For 140, 000 Palestinians

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 11 11:05:57 EDT 2011

Israel Admits To Cancelling Residency Rights For 140,000 Palestinians


  Wednesday May 11, 2011 11:45
 by Kevin Murphy - IMEMC and Agencies

Haartz has today revealed files showing that Israel cancelled the 
residency of up to 140,000 Palestinians between 1967 and 1994.

The paper reports that the files, obtained by the Centre for the 
Defence of the Individual upon filing a request under the Freedom of 
Information Law, show a clear procedure of removal of residency 
rights for Palestinians during the period. Haaretz claims the 
procedure was unknown to Palestinians leaving the country, often for 
work and study purposes abroad.

Between the occupation of the West Bank in 1967 and the Oslo Accord 
of 1994 those wishing to travel from the West Bank into Jordan via 
the Allenby Bridge were required to leave their identity cards at the 
border and were issued with an exit visa valid for three years. 
Unbeknownst to Palestinians, the Centre has claimed, those who failed 
to return within six months of the cards expiration would be declared 
NLR, or No Longer Resident, without warning, and prevented from 
returning to their homes.

According toe Haaretz, Maj Gen Danny Rothschild, who was coordinator 
of government activities in the Territories from 1991 to 1995 has 
said he was unaware of the procedure. "If even I wasn't told of the 
procedure, one may infer that neither were residents of the occupied 
territories," he said.

A similar process is today in place for Palestinian residents of East 
Jerusalem who lose their residency rights after seven years abroad. 
The Centre for the Defence of the Individual has vowed to uncover 
what it believes to be a similar secretive procedure for Palestinians 
in the Gaza Strip.

Palestinians who emigrated from the West Bank following the 
establishment of the PA in 1994 retained residency rights 
irrespective of time spent abroad.

If the figures are correct the population of the West Bank would have 
been some 14% greater than the 1.05 million residents recorded in 
1994. This figure does not include descendants of the individuals who 
were forcibly exiled.

Top Palestinian Authority official Saeb Erekat has stated that the 
practice amounted to war crimes by the Israeli state. "Israel's 
actions violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which 
states that 'everyone has the right to leave any country, including 
his own, and to return to his country'" he said in a statement to Heeratz.

The news will fuel criticisms that Israel has an active policy of 
ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from both Israel and the Occupied 
Territories, often carried out through bureaucratic legal procedures. 
Such procedures include the extensive and complex system of permits 
subjected solely on Palestinian property and movement abroad and 
across Israeli checkpoints. The system, The Centre for The Defence of 
The Individual claims, is designed to make life unliveable for 
Palestinians in the West Bank and Israel and to encourage their 
immigration abroad; "The policy turns Palestinians' human rights into 
a privilege, dependent on the whim of army commanders and reliant on 
a complex and non-transparent bureaucratic system that needs to be 
approached time and again" the Center claims.

Israel has shown an acute sensitivity to increases in its Palestinian 
population in both Israel and the Occupied Territories since its 
foundation. The state has consistently denied the right of return for 
refugees who fled or were forced from their homes from 1948 onwards. 
Palestinian leaders have demanded that a right of return for 
Palestinian refugees to their homes in what is now Israel is 
essential to any lasting stable peace. Israeli commentators claim any 
such right of return would undermine the demographic status of Israel 
as a Jewish state.

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