Campaign for the Right of Entry/Re-Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territory

Investors warned about access to occupied Palestine

As hundreds of international investors begin arriving in Bethlehem for the Palestine Investment Conference scheduled for 21-23 May, the threat of being barred from entering the occupied West Bank by Israeli officials is likely to be foremost on everyone’s mind. Those hoping to actually invest in Palestine will be looking for answers regarding who will guarantee unhindered access in the future for themselves, their staff and the suppliers needed for investments to succeed in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. 

Israel denies entry to Christian clergy

Israeli authorities are arbitrarily denying entry to clergy and volunteers belonging to or working for Christian institutions and service providers. The clergy being harassed and denied entry to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory join tens of thousands of ordinary foreign passport holders of Palestinian and non-Palestinian origin who wish to be with their families, work or study, as well as tourists and pilgrims. 

Israel's refusal to allow entry breaches international law

To date, Israeli authorities have failed to provide a transparent policy on which foreign nationals wishing to enter or maintain their presence in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) can rely. Instead, Israel has continued to pursue both policies and practices that fail to comply with International Humanitarian Law. In fact, the de facto policy announced in December 2006 and again in March 2007 signals Israel’s intent to continue to violate international law. 

Changes to denial of entry policy fail to resolve crisis

A notice recently issued by the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (CoGAT), states changes in Israel’s policy of denying entry to foreign nationals traveling into the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The notice, delivered to chief Palestinian negotiator, Dr. Saeb Erakat on December 28, 2006, states that entry of foreign nationals “will be permitted through means of the military commander’s consent.” The notice further explains that restricted foreign nationals will be ‘eligible’ to apply for temporary entry into the oPt as well as periodic visa renewals. It outlines the procedures for processing these applications. 

Israel continues to deny entry despite assurances to EU

Despite assurances given to the EU presidency by Israeli authorities, foreigners continue to be barred from passing through Israeli-controlled access points when their destination is the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). “Arbitrary denials of entry and expulsions have not stopped. No transparent rules or mechanisms are in place so far. Palestinian families, vital service providers and businesses remain vulnerable to arbitrary denials of entry and residency. This is especially hard to accept at a time of major Christian and Muslim traditional festivities when families want to be together more then ever”, said Anita Abdullah, speaking for the Campaign for the Right of Entry to the oPt. 

Petition challenges Israeli exclusions

The Jerusalem Legal Aid Center (JLAC), on December 11, petitioned the Israeli Civil Administration and the Ministry of Interior (MoI) to reinstate the processing of visitor permit renewal requests and to reinstate those whose permits have lapsed. JLAC attorney, Sliman Shahin, presented the petition on behalf of spouses and children of Palestinians who submitted their applications in 2006 and whose permits subsequently expired during processing, were stamped “last permit”, were not renewed, or whose holders are now forced to overstay their three-month permit. On November 19, all 100 renewal requests returned to the Palestinian MoI, were either rejected or marked as ‘last permit’. 

Travel Warning: Bethlehem & Jerusalem, Occupied Palestine

This Travel Warning is being issued to update information on the general security environment in Israel, Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip, and to reiterate threats to foreign nationals, especially American citizens. Although the situation in Israel is seemingly calm, the fact of the matter remains that Israel continues to aggressively violate International Humanitarian and Human Rights Laws daily. A disconcerting development is the Israeli practice of denying entry of Palestinian Christians and Muslims to the Holy Land; embodying religious discrimination during the high holy season. As Palestinians, we have always looked forward to your being with us during Christmas, Easter and other holiday feasts. 

Israel refuses to process visa renewal requests

In a new escalation of Israel’s policy of denying Palestinians and their families access to the Israeli occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), the Israeli Civil Administration at Beit El is refusing to accept at least 140 passports for visa extensions. The passport holders are mostly spouses and children of Palestinian I.D.-holders and are residing in the oPt. Many of them have been forced to become “illegal” since their visitor visas have expired while waiting to be renewed by Israel. Twenty-seven-year-old Subha G is one of these cases. Her mother, brothers and her husband all have Palestinian IDs, but her request for family reunification has been frozen since 1997. 

Lawsuit against Israel considered by foreign nationals denied entry

Hundreds of foreign nationals packed into the Al-Bireh Municipality Hall to listen to legal experts explain the options available to them in light of Israel’s refusal to permit foreign nationals access to the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The audience was full of families with children, fearful that they will be forced to separate within days. Hundreds of foreign nationals packed into the Al-Bireh Municipality Hall to listen to legal experts explain the options available to them in light of Israel’s refusal to permit foreign nationals access to the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). The audience was full of families with children, fearful that they will be forced to separate within days. 

Israel issues last permits to foreigners, splitting families

All foreign passports of spouses and children of Palestinian ID-holders who had applied for visa extensions were marked recently as “last permit” by the Israeli authorities. 105 passport holders are required to exit from Israeli controlled entry/exit points before the end of the year. The Israeli Ministry of Interior (MoI) office at Beit El began returning the passports on November 19 after a six-week strike by Israeli MoI employees. Those who overstay their allotted time will be considered “illegal” and are subject to immediate deportation from the Israeli occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).