Israel modifies and pushes back its new rules for entering the occupied West Bank

Israel changes and pushes back its new rules for entering the occupied West Bank

The regulation, which was due to come into force on Monday, notably required holders of foreign passports to inform the Israeli authorities within 30 days of the formalization of a romantic relationship in the West Bank.

Israel has changed new rules governing life in the occupied West Bank and has pushed back against the implementation of these procedures criticized by Washington, as well as by human rights organizations which consider them intrusive and restrictive.

< p class="e-p">First published in February, the new entry procedures for the West Bank – a Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 by Israel – are aimed at foreigners wishing to reside, work, volunteer or study there.< /p>

The regulation, which was due to come into force on Monday, notably required foreign passport holders to notify Israeli authorities of the formalization of a romantic relationship in the West Bank within 30 days.

Cogat, the body of the Israeli Ministry of Defense overseeing civilian activities in the Palestinian Territories, published a revised text on Sunday which deletes the paragraph on this subject. New measures will take effect on October 20.

The implementation of these procedures had already been postponed twice, as it is challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court by 19 plaintiffs, including the Israeli human rights organization Hamoked, which denounces intrusive criteria and superfluous.

The text provided that foreign spouses of Palestinians would initially be granted three- or six-month permits, with most of them having to leave the West Bank for six months before obtaining a new permit. This provision for a mandatory period outside the West Bank has been removed.

According to Hamoked director Jessica Montell, Israel has removed the most offensive material.

But the main problem remains: if a spouse is a foreigner, Israel will prevent thousands of families from being reunited for blatant political and demographic reasons, she laments.

On Twitter, US Ambassador Tom Nides said on Sunday, after Cogat's amended rules were released, to expect the Israeli government to […] treat all citizens fairly [ …] foreigners traveling to the West Bank.

For Salem Barahmeh, director general of the Palestinian Institute of Public Diplomacy, part of the new Israeli rules were about control and ;isolation.

The other part is: if you can't be together in Palestine then you will have to leave, he wrote on Twitter.

University life is also affected by these new rules. Israel had set annual quotas of 100 professors and 150 students allowed to live in the West Bank, which is much less than in 2020. This decision had been criticized by the European Union, as it could particularly affect many Erasmus+ students.

These quotas do not appear in the modified version.

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