Israel cancelled status of 14,000 Palestinians from 1967 to 1994

Israel canceled the residency status of 140,000 Palestinians between 1967 and 1994, allegedly without warning, the daily Ha’aretz reported.

A document obtained by Ha’aretz, following a request filed under the Freedom of Information Law by a human rights organization, shows that the residency status of 140,000 West Bank Palestinians was canceled between the Six-Day War and the signing of the Oslo Accords.

Palestinians who left the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge to Jordan were required to leave their ID cards at the border crossing and were issued a travel document good for three years. If they did not return within those three years, they became registered as “no longer residents,” Ha’aretz reported last week.

The procedure also affected Palestinians who left to attend universities abroad.

Palestinians who have left the West Bank since the Palestinian Authority was established retain their residency rights indefinitely.

The regulation constituted a war crime and represented an Israeli attempt to affect the demographic composition of the West Bank, Palestinian official Saeb Erekat told Ha’aretz in a statement.

Erekat used the Ha’aretz report as another reason to call on the international community to recognize a unilaterally declared Palestinian state.

The regulation’s existence was discovered by the Center for the Defense of the Individual when it looked into the case of a West Bank resident imprisoned in Israel who lost his residency status. — jta