Israeli Passport Stamp Limits Bearers to Palestinian Authority Territories

Israeli Passport Stamp Limits Bearers to Palestinian Authority Territories

by Sheila Musaji

A few recent articles about a new Israeli Passport Stamp raise some interesting issues.  If you are a Palestinian American and have family in more than one location, then you may have to choose who you visit.  If you are a welfare worker or human rights activist you may not be able to move freely.  If ..., if ..., if ...  This is a completely arbitrary passport restriction that could impact many individuals.  The noose is tightening more and more on the Palestinians. 

“I am talking about a new Israeli policy – or more precisely, a passport stamp – that limits foreigner passport bearers to Palestinian Authority territories. It is no longer a rumor or a speculation. It is a fact with the stamp to prove it. It is my suspicion that Israel is working up to something much bigger than just a stamp, which primarily targets Americans (or other nationals) of Palestinian origin who frequent Palestine mostly to visit relatives residing in the West Bank. By limiting US nationals who declare their intention to visit the West Bank, Israel can cut off even more Palestinians from entering its territories, thus further consolidating the confined space where Palestinians are allowed. Eventually, Israel will be completely separated from anything and anyone Palestinian (save the border crossings, over which I am sure it will not relinquish control) including those who, as Americans, have a right to enter Israel as well.”  ( )

“The presence of “Palestinian Authority only” on the stamp is what makes it unique.  Previous Israeli-issued tourism visas do not restrict the freedom of movement of tourists who are allowed passage into the country, and who originate from countries which Israel has diplomatic relations and reciprocal arrangements regarding travel. That meaning, as long as someone was allowed into the country, they were able to travel freely whether they chose to visit the Israeli city of Tel Aviv, or the Palestinian city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank.  “Palestinian Authority only” greatly restricts this freedom of movement, and thus undoes the former arrangement. It essentially precludes travel to areas of pre-1967 Israel, as well as to Israeli controlled areas in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”  ( )

“The people on whom travel restrictions have been imposed, and with whom Haaretz has spoken, include businesspeople and foreign investors, people with relatives in the West Bank, university faculty, and international development and welfare workers. All are citizens of Western countries. ... Another question that thus remains unanswered is whether legal experts in the interior and defense ministries are aware of the fact that the travel restrictions Israel is imposing are a violation of the 1995 Interim Agreement, also known as Oslo-2. The agreement states that citizens of countries that have diplomatic ties with Israel may enter the West Bank and the Gaza Strip on their Israeli visa and a valid passport.”  (  )

“Israel must make the choice in the weeks ahead whether it intends to continue ruling over the Palestinians indefinitely or will step back from the dual system of law and apartheid it appears poised to embrace under the leadership of Prime Minister Netanyahu.” (  )


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