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