Israeli authorities impose new restrictions on entry to the West Bank

From next Monday, Israel will introduce new measures to restrict the entry and residence of foreigners in the West Bank.

The measures, published in February, target foreigners who wish to live, work, study or volunteer in the West Bank, which has been occupied by Israel since 1967, and will also affect large numbers of Erasmus students, according to AFP.

However, the implementation of these procedures was twice delayed due to the objections of 19 plaintiffs before the Israeli Supreme Court, and among those who challenged them, the Israeli human rights organization Hamoked, which characterizes it as an “extreme restriction” and imposes “intrusive and vague criteria” , as he will not be able to. Any foreigner wishing to enter the West Bank can obtain a visa on arrival in Israel and will need to request it 45 days in advance, as well as determine if he has a first-degree family in the West Bank and owns land or may inherit land, while foreigners cannot yet. Now they are allowed to enter through the Tel Aviv airport, except in exceptional cases, and they must enter through the King Hussein Bridge between Jordan and the West Bank and the crossing, which is controlled by Israel.

In addition to the above, the 97-page new procedures provide in some cases a guarantee of up to 70,000 shekels (about 20,000 euros), as well as for the visa holder to spend several months outside the West Bank before obtaining a second visa, according to France Press”.

Agence France-Presse reported that “in recent months, a number of foreigners have flocked to the office of lawyer Rasem Kamal in Ramallah, concerned about new measures that will begin to be implemented on Monday to restrict entry and residence in the West Bank. “When the rules are applied, their ability to come will be limited, and they want to get a power of attorney issued for their Palestinian relatives.”

The Israeli organization HaMoked explained that the new procedures impose “strict restrictions on visa extensions, and in most cases a person must leave and stay abroad, and the period can sometimes be a year before they can apply for a new visa. “, noting that “this will have a direct impact on the wives and husbands of foreign Palestinians who will have to leave when their visas expire, depriving thousands of Palestinian families of the right to live together without interruption and lead a normal family life.”

It is worth noting that the new Israeli policy has been criticized by the European Commission because of the quotas imposed on university professors (150 per year) and foreign students (100) who enter Palestinian universities, since these institutions are in 2020.

EU Commissioner for Education Maria Gabriel confirmed in July that the restrictions are contrary to the goals of the Erasmus+ exchange program, noting that “although Israel greatly benefits from the Erasmus+ program, the Commission believes that it should facilitate, not hinder, ‘arrival at Palestinian universities’.” while 1,803 Israeli students and professors entered European universities in 2020.

Source: AFP

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