Israel is refusing to renew the VIP cards of several senior Palestinian
Authority officials, a Palestinian official in Ramallah said
The Israeli-issued cards, which enable their holders freedom
of movement in the West Bank and Israel, had been granted to dozens of top PA
officials over the past two decades.
One of the PA officials affected by
the new policy is Nabil Sha’ath, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and a
former negotiator with Israel.
Sha’ath’s card was revoked after he
visited the Gaza Strip to participate in Hamas’s “victory” celebrations in the
aftermath of Operation Pillar of Defense.
Sha’ath said in response that
he does not really care about the VIP card “because Palestinian unity is much
Palestinians have regularly criticized senior PA
officials for accepting Israeli-issued VIP cards that grant them various
privileges denied to most of their people. The cards also allowed their holders
to pass through IDF checkpoints without delay or checking.
A PA official
in Ramallah told The Jerusalem Post
that the decision to revoke the VIP cards
came in response to the UN vote in favor of upgrading the Palestinians’ status
to non-member observer state.
However, the Post
has learned that several
PA officials had their cards confiscated long before the UN vote.
officials lost their VIP status following fiery statements against Israel,
including calls for launching a new intifada, the Post
cards had been issued to more than 100 Palestinian officials, most of them
members of the PLO Executive Committee and the Fatah Central
Marouf Zaharn, PA Deputy Minister of Civilian Affairs, confirmed
that the Israeli authorities were refusing to renew the VIP cards of several top
He said that his ministry has been told by IDF officers that
the decision whether to renew or not the VIP cards was in the hands of the
A response by the IDF on the issue was not available
by press time.