Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Israel Moves to Deport 'Illegal' Palestinians from West Bank

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Israel Moves to Deport 'Illegal' Palestinians from West Bank

Article excerpt

A new Israel military order scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday gives Israel the power to deport and prosecute Palestinians living in the West Bank without a permit.

A sweeping new Israeli military order that is due to go into effect on Tuesday could allow for the deportation of thousands of Palestinians whom Israel considers to be in the West Bank illegally - and could also affect internationals living in the West Bank.

The order, which was passed into military code six months ago but is due to go into effect on Tuesday, was discovered by the Israel- based human rights group HaMoked: the Center for the Defense of the Individual, and reported in Sunday's Haaretz newspaper. HaMoked and nine other human rights groups have banded together and appealed to Israel's Ministry of Defense to delay enforcing the order.

Under the new Israeli rules, anyone caught living in the West Bank without an Israeli permit could face expulsion within three days or be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

IN PICTURES: The Israeli separation barrier: A West Bank wall

The deportation policy would primarily be applied to Palestinians or foreign nationals who are residing in West Bank without a permit, according to an army statement.

"The major problem is that for the first time, Palestinians can be regarded as infiltrators in their own land," says Elad Kahana, a lawyer for HaMoked. She adds that even people who have been living in the West Bank for 20 years will be required to obtain a special permit. "The main target is people who originally came from the Gaza Strip and foreigners who came here under family reunification laws."

The greatest number of those falling into the second category, says a spokeswoman for human rights organization B'tselem, is Jordanian women who married West Bank Palestinian men. Such marriages are common, usually within extended families.

"These are the groups at risk, but the order is so general and so wide that it could be used against almost anybody caught in the West Bank," says Sarit Michaeli, the spokeswoman for B'tselem. …

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