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Israel's Restrictions Further Isolate Palestinians


Israel's New Restrictions Further Isolate Palestinian People

The Israeli Military has imposed new restrictions on visitors to the Palestinian Territories. Visitors to the West Bank and Gaza Strip are now required to apply for permission and obtain written authorization from the Civil Administration of the Israeli Military, without which they could be deported and refused future re-entry to Israel/Palestinian Territories. This measure is a further attempt by Israel to isolate the Palestinian people and treat them like caged animals, controlling if and when Palestinians are allowed to have human contact with the international community.

According to the Danish Embassy, this new order went into effect January 4, 2004 and foreign civilians currently in the Palestinian Territories may have to apply for permission from the Civil Administration to leave.

Foreign nationals arriving to Ben Gurion Airport or at one of the bridges from Jordan are now being handed this order, apparently as a warning, as no signature is yet being required for entry into Israel. The threat of deportation and banning of re-entry into Israel is especially concerning as Israel controls all borders and entry into the Palestinian Territories. Therefore a ban on entry into Israel translates into a ban on access to the Palestinian Territories.

This measure is similar to restrictions placed on entry to the Gaza Strip in May 2003 which required any foreign visitor including journalists and NGO workers to sign a waiver form in which they agreed that Israel held no responsibility for their death or injury by the Israeli army. This made it difficult for international monitors and humanitarian workers to enter Gaza. As a result human rights abuses committed by the Israeli Army escalated and went largely unreported to the outside world - approximately 2,000 people were made homeless in Rafah as a result of mass house demolitions by the Israeli Military in October of 2003.

Please call, write and fax your governmental representatives, especially your embassies in Israel and Government Foreign Relations offices (State Department) and ask them to protest this measure to the Israeli government and give written assurances to their civilians that they will be granted access to the Palestinian Territories.

Your government's embassy in Israel:

http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfh/Eng/Ntz/Ntz_World.asp?let=65

For a scanned copy of the order, please see: http://www.palsolidarity.org

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