Gaza-West Bank move made harder

New Israeli regulations make it more difficult for Palestinians to relocate, NGO's report.

Erez Crossing Waiting 248.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Erez Crossing Waiting 248.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
The government has initiated a new regulation barring any Palestinian registered as living in the Gaza Strip from moving to the West Bank, except under exceptional humanitarian circumstances, the human rights organizations Hamoked and Gisha charged on Tuesday. According to the regulation, which was presented by the state to the High Court of Justice in response to several petitions, the only applications which will be considered by the coordinator of activities in the territories will be those who have first-degree family members registered as living in the West Bank, and even then only under specific circumstances. "Israel is systematically taking action to further isolate the Gaza Strip, while increasing the geographic and political separation between Gaza and the West Bank," the two human rights groups charged. "The new procedure contradicts a long list of Israeli undertakings to conduct negotiations for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state, including an explicit commitment in the Oslo Accords to preserve the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip as 'a single territorial unit.'" According to the regulation, there are three criteria for allowing movement from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank following the fulfillment of a precondition that the applicant does not have a "security impediment." In order to be considered, an applicant must fulfill one of the following criteria: • Someone who suffers from a chronic medical condition and who has no other family member (not necessarily of the first degree) in Gaza to provide care • A minor under the age of 16 living with one parent in Gaza who dies and another living in the West Bank, on condition that there is no relative in Gaza to look after the minor. Even if he does have such relatives, the coordinator of activities may allow him to move, depending on the nature of his relationship with the living parent. • A person over the age of 65 who is in a "needy situation" and has a first-degree relative in the West Bank who can help him, conditional, in part, on not having relatives in the West Bank. According to the regulation, anyone who meets one of these criteria and is allowed to move, will receive a temporary permit, renewable each year, for seven years. After seven years, if he has proven he is not a security threat, he may be registered in the West Bank population registry.