PLO negotiator calls Israeli residency policy ‘war crime’

Published today (updated) 11/05/2011 15:51
PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks at a seminar in An-Najah University in the West Bank city of Nablus, February 7, 2011. [MaanImages/Rami Swidan]

JERICHO (Ma’an) — Commenting on a report detailing a secret Israeli policy that stripped 140,000 Palestinians of their residency rights between 1967 and 1994, caretaker PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said the report “confirms our claims that Israel is engaging in a systematic policy of displacement.”

He termed the policy a “war crime,” noting that the number exiled by the police amounted to 5.5 percent of the Palestinian population in the West Bank.

The procedure demanded that Palestinians traveling out of the West Bank via Jordan leave their identity cards at the border crossing, and later confiscated them in a covert expiration process, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported Wednesday.

Erekat’s statement also noted that the number of modern exiles revealed in the report “excluded around 20,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites whose residency rights have been revoked [under different policies] and hence have been denied the ability to return home.”

Palestinian Authority media spokesman Ghassan Khatib called for the reinstatement of the residency rights of all those exiled in the almost 30 years the policy was in use. He applauded the report, saying it showed the international community the extent of Israel’s efforts to displace Palestinians.

Identity cards are issued by Israel to Palestinians living in areas under occupation, and must be presented at borders, as well as for identification purposes inside the area.

The confiscation policy was in place from 1967 when Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, until 1994, when the Palestinian Authority was established as a representative body for Palestinian self-governance under the Oslo Accords.

Erekat said the events of that period “should not only be seen as a war crime as it is under international law, it also has a humanitarian dimension.

“We are talking about people who left Palestine to study or work temporarily but who could not return to resume their lives in their country with their families. It has been a crippling and life-changing situation that thousands of families have been forced to deal with since 1967.”

Haaretz’s report, he continued, provides evidence that the “Palestinian catastrophe is an ongoing process,” and demanded that Israel “restore residency rights to our people and permit families who have been separated for decades to be reunited.”

In light of such Israeli policies, Erakat called on those states in the international community that have yet to recognize the Palestinian state on the 1967 border, to join those nations who have already pledged recognition.

“Our right to self determination must not be subject to negotiations, including the right of our families to live in their homeland. It is time to put an end to the pain and humiliation caused by the continuation of the Israeli occupation,” he concluded.

Source

Background

Actually stripping of residency, or giving Palestinians who were abroad a stamp: “Last Entry” is nothing new at all. It is a practice committed by Israel for many years now, separating hundreds of thousands families in the West Bank and Gaza, from their loved ones now abroad, or, forcing all the ones left behind in occupied territories to leave Palestine as well.

Choose, between their loved ones or residency is nothing new at all, so the outrage is a little late…. more about this topic at the website of B’Tselem about Family Separation and Residency

More about this one policy (among many) of Israel to ethnic cleans Palestine of it’s inhabitants and the ongoing Nakba, which is committed by Israel by many discriminating policies can be found in the special topic Ethnic Cleansing:


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