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
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
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.