Israel issues permits to regulate Palestinians



Israel issues permits to regulate Palestinians Jerusalem: As many as 101 different types of permits are issued by Israeli authorities to regulate the movement of Palestinians in West Bank and in Israel.

Israel's Civil Administration (ICA)-governed Palestinian movement permit regime has surged over the years, swelling to the three digit figure, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz said today.

According to a document obtained by daily, the Israeli agency governing the movement of Palestinians in the Palestinian Authority (PA)-ruled West Bank, between the West Bank, in Israel or beyond the borders of the state issue as many as 101 different types of permits.

The most common of these permits is the one allowing Palestinians to work in Israel, or in Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

There are separate permits for worshipers who attend Friday prayers at al-Aqsa in Jerusalem and for clerics working at the site, and for unspecified clergy and church employees.

Medical permits issued by ICA differentiate between physicians and ambulance drivers, and between "medical emergency staff" and "medical staff in the seam zone," the border between Israel and the West Bank.

There is a permit for escorting a patient in an ambulance and one for simply escorting a patient.

There are separate permits for travelling to a wedding in the West Bank or travelling to a wedding in Israel, and also for going to Israel for a funeral, a work meeting, or a court hearing.

The security fence constructed by Israel, reportedly gave rise to an entirely new category of permits for farmers cut off from their fields.

"Thus, for instance, there is a permit for a 'farmer in the seam zone', not to be confused with the permit for a 'permanent farmer in the seam zone'", the report said.

Human rights organisations active in the region have challenged the permit regime on various grounds.

According to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, international agencies operating in the West Bank 'waste' an estimated 20 per cent of their working days on obtaining permits from the Civil Administration - applying, renewing and sorting out problems.

Israeli organisation, Machsom Watch, monitoring the checkpoints, has alleged that the Shin Bet internal security agency uses the permit regime to recruit informers, the report said.

Palestinians whose permit requests are rejected "for security reasons" are often invited to meetings with Shin Bet agents, who then offer "assistance" in obtaining the desired permits in exchange for information, it said.

Guy Inbar, spokesman for the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, was quoted as saying by Ha'aretz that the ICA is aware of the issues raised in the report and intends to evaluate them in the coming year as part of its streamlining programme.

PTI