Israel’s New Rules for Visitors to the Occupied West Bank Reveal an Oppressive Regime

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Israeli occupation authorities will next week impose new rules on Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and foreign citizens wishing to visit the area; the rules violate the fundamental human right to privacy. This is defined by lawyers as the right to protect personal information from public scrutiny. This right is internationally recognized and applies to everyone except Palestinians and those who want to move to the occupied West Bank.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the authority responsible for the implementation of Israeli government policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, has issued new regulations governing visa requirements for foreign citizens planning to enter the occupied West Bank. visits. Under the new rules, they must report to the Israeli occupation authorities whether they are married to a Palestinian, intend to marry a Palestinian, or intend to enter into a relationship with a Palestinian. If such a visitor did not have such a relationship with a Palestinian, but enters one during the visit to the occupied territories, this must be reported to the Israeli occupation authorities within 30 days. An application must then be made to the Palestinian Authority to formalize the new relationship, otherwise the visa expires after 90 days and the holder must leave the country immediately.

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The new rulebook includes several restrictions imposed on Palestinians and their movement within the occupied territories, as well as those living in the diaspora and visiting their relatives in their home countries. It also imposes severe restrictions on foreign citizens, whether of Palestinian descent or not, wishing to study at Palestinian universities in the occupied West Bank, volunteer or work at an institution in the occupied territories. The rules will have a negative impact on student exchange programmes, in particular Erasmus+, which is run by the European Union.

For example, Palestinians in the occupied territories face even stricter restrictions on their freedom of movement, as do those who move into the territories from abroad. This is yet another example of Israel’s blatant disregard for international laws and conventions. It is also an example of the apartheid Israel is imposing on the Palestinians, because the new rules do not apply to illegal Jewish settlers living in the same occupied territories. Israeli apartheid has been declared by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and B’Tselem.

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Under international law, every person has the right to respect for his or her privacy and family life. Israel deprives the people of occupied Palestine and their visitors that right. This is yet another restriction imposed by Israel, in addition to depriving Palestinians of the right to life, liberty, security, protection from torture or degrading treatment or punishment, and protection from arbitrary detention and deportation. All of these are guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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The COGAT rulebook is clearly designed to undermine the reunification of Palestinian families, which goes against the Zionist goal of reducing rather than expanding the Palestinian population. Jessica Montell, the director of the Israeli rights group HaMoked, confirmed this by pointing out that the goal of the Israeli occupation government is “to limit the growth of the Palestinian population through family reunification.” The demographic balance in favor of Jews must be maintained at all costs, even if it means violating international laws and conventions.

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Indeed, according to the rights group — which led to an appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court to avoid the imposition of the new rulebook — the new rules will “deprive thousands of Palestinian families of the right to live together uninterrupted and lead normal family” lives. “

Israel is supposed to be a democracy – “the only democracy in the Middle East” – and yet it imposes a degree of interference in the personal lives of Palestinians that is the hallmark of an oppressive regime. That speaks volumes about the true nature of Zionism and the apartheid state it has created.

The views expressed in this article are the property of the author and do not necessarily reflect Middle East Monitor’s editorial policy.