Israel Admits that It Has Canceled Residency Rights of Quarter of a Million of Palestinians Since 67
- Published on Tuesday, 12 June 2012 12:28
Israel has stripped the residency rights of more than 100,000 individuals from Gaza and an additional 150,000 from the West Bank in the 27 years that have passed between the occupation of the Palestinian territories in 1967 and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994.
Haaretz's Hebrew edition published a report that stated that approximately 250,000 Palestinians who have left the Palestinian territories have been prevented from returning to it.
Population growth in the Palestinian territories is hovering at 3.3% as systematic expulsion has reduced the population by more than 10%, the bulk of whom are university students, graduates, and the self-employed who travel to work outside the country, particularly in the countries of the Persian Gulf.
Haaretz reported that the release of this data concerning the right of residence in Gaza was in response to the request for the freedom of information submitted by HaMoked, the Center for the Defense of the Individual.
The Office for the Coordination of Government Activities reports that 44,730 Gazans have lost their right of residence because they had been absent from the region for seven years or more, 54,730 because they were not present during the 1981 census, and a further 7,249 because they were not present during the 1988 census.
The report explained that some 15,000 of the persons who lost their residency were aged 90 and older.
In May 2011, Haaretz obtained the numbers of individuals of the West Bank who were also stripped of their residency rights. The report noted that the Israeli government has worked for years behind the scenes in order to do so. For example, Palestinians from the West Bank who were leaving to go abroad, for whatever reason, were asked to leave their identity card at the crossing. In contrast to those from the Gaza Strip, who were allowed to leave for seven years, these Palestinians had permits for a period of three years. The permit could be renewed up to three times, each time for one year, but any Palestinian could have been stripped of his or her permit within six months of the end of their allotted stay outside the country without prior notice.
Senior military officials denied having any knowledge of such actions at the time of the publication of this report.
The report noted that a similar procedure has been applied to residents of East Jerusalem. Any Palestinian who has lived abroad for seven or more years loses their right to return to the city.
Israeli authorities have taken advantage of what it calls a policy of open bridges in order to implement this plan and carry out the expulsion of tens of thousands of residents of Jerusalem who have left the city for more than seven years.
The number of Palestinians who have been expelled through this quiet bureaucratic procedure numbers in the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.