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Press Release of Israel Committee for Residency Rights
Israel Committee for Residency Rights
On Monday, October 23, 2006 ICRR—Israeli Committee for Residency Rights—launched its program in Jerusalem at Daila. The ICRR calls upon the Israeli public to join in demanding from the Israeli government to desist from violating basic human rights and humanitarian norms, by granting the right of residency to individuals of Palestinian descent who wish to dwell with their families in their homes.
In recent months the Israeli government has been implementing a rigid policy of “no entry” to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. This applies to Palestinians having foreign passports, and has impacted on many who have lived in the OPT for years, are married to Palestinians, have children, and in one case at least have also grandchildren.
Israel controls the Population Registry for the PA, but refuses to issue residency rights. Palestinians with foreign citizenship who have applied for residency rights, but have not received them are thus forced use visas to remain in the OPT. These tourist visas are for three months, and require exiting the OPTs and Israel to renew them. Those who cannot not afford to travel abroad became illegal sojourners and live in perpetual anxiety that confines them to their homes. Those who go abroad have no assurance that they will be allowed to return and indeed in recent months the number denied reentry has increased significantly. Since March, 2006, the Israeli government has adopted a policy of not allowing individuals of Palestinian descent, but having foreign citizenship, to enter the OPTs at all, and has refused re-entry to those who in the past were able to re-enter after extending them
The result of this policy is splitting families apart, economic disaster, disruption of studies for children and students and immense suffering in all areas of life. B’tselem estimates that about 120,000 persons are directly affected by this policy. But the number jumps when their families are added; then approximately ½ a million are effected by this sophisticated form of ethnic cleansing.
Moreover, individuals of Palestinian descent are not the only ones to be treated in this fashion. Israeli policy impacts also on citizens of foreign countries who have come to tour, study, or work in the OPT, with many of them having been denied entry. Among these are teachers, professors, social workers, physicians and other health workers and professionals in various areas who advance the economy and the quality of life in the Occupied Territories, and thus contribute to the well being of the Palestinian population generally. Rigidity and arbitrariness characterize the Israeli government’s conduct towards this group—acts that appear designed to deprive the Palestinian population of the benefits it derives from the presence of these individuals.
Launching the speakers was Antigona Ashkar, followed by Yossi Wolfson, and Shulamit Aloni. Ms. Ashkar, a researcher for B’tselem, gave an in-depth report on the issue.* Adv. Yossi Wolfson of the Moked Center for the Protection of the Individual, described the legal manipulations carried out to implement the policy, advising that it has, per se, no basis in law. He confirmed the data given by B’tselem and stressed that the various claims of state security invoked by the authorities are simply camouflage for a policy of ethnic cleansing designed to render the West Bank free of non-Jewish occupants. Concluding the speakers was former minister and Knesset member, Shulamit Aloni, who cited Camus’s contention that one would like to love both one`s country and justice. She accused the government and the army of carrying out blatant crimes against humanity, and cited an active MK, asserted that Israel should apply a policy aimed to make the lives of the Palestinians so miserable that they would voluntarily chose to emigrate. Aloni called upon ICRR to widen its activities to include the broad pattern of crimes and injustice from which the Palestinian population is suffering. On this 50th anniversary of the Kfar Kassem massacre, whose perpetrators enjoyed essential impunity, she called to stop the Kfar Kassem events taking place daily before our eyes.
Among the founding members of the Committee: Prof. Aharon Eviatar, Prof Rachel Giora, Prof Yehuda Kupferman, Dr. Yosefa Sartiel, Prof Jacob Katriel, Dr. Dorothy Naor, Dr. Israel Naor, Dr. Ruchama Marton
For further information please contact Dorothy Naor: (972) 9 – 958 4804
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