B'Tselem report: Permit System for Crossing Barrier is Racist  

Today, B'Tselem is publishing a report that deals with Israel's refusal to allow Palestinians access to their farmland that is located west of the separation barrier in the Tulkarm-Qalqiliya area. The primary means for preventing access is a permit system that Israel has instituted in the Seam Area, which are based on racist criteria.

Israel's permit system dealing with the enclaves between the separation barrier and the Green Line has been in effect since October 2003. Absurdly, only Palestinians require permits. According to Civil Administration directives, Jews can freely enter the Seam Area, even if they are not residents of Israel. By contrast, Palestinians wanting to obtain a permit face a bureaucratic nightmare. B'Tselem's report reveals that during the first six months of the permit regime, the Civil Administration rejected about 25 percent of the permit requests in the Tulkarm-Qalqiliya area. Although Israel has denied farmers their source of income, it refuses to compensate them for their losses. Even farmers with permits may wait hours to cross because the gates are closed.

The Israeli government has not learned from the substantial damage caused by building the first stage of the barrier inside the West Bank. If Israel continues its current policy and completes other sections of the barrier east of the Green Line, thousands more Palestinians will lose their source of income, further increasing the level of poverty in the West Bank.

Construction of the barrier inside the West Bank violates international law. B'Tselem urges Israel to tear down the sections of the barrier that were constructed in the West Bank. Until that is done, Israel should revoke the declaration of the Seam Area as a closed military area, open the gates throughout the day, and end the racist permit system.

Gate in the separation barrier between Tulkarm and Qalqiliya
Gate in the separation barrier between Tulkarm and Qalqiliya. Photo: Eyal Ofer

Summary of the report
The report (Word 97)
The report (RTF)
The report (PDF)
Background on the separation barrier
   As of Tonight Residents of Nu'man Subject to Expulsion  

Beginning at midnight, residents of Nu'man may face arrest and expulsion from their village. On 7 June, Supreme Court Justice Miriam Naor ruled that the temporary order forbidding Israel from expelling the residents from their homes will expire in ten days. The temporary injunction, issued by Justice Naor in late August 2003, also prohibited the state from arresting village residents found within Jerusalem's municipal borders on charges that they were illegally in the city.

Palestinians began settling in Nu'man in the 1930s. In 1967, the village was annexed into Jerusalem, but Israeli officials mistakenly registered the village residents as residents of the West Bank and did not issue them Israeli identity cards. The Interior Ministry and the Jerusalem Municipality continue to refuse to recognize them as Israeli residents and consider them to be illegally in their homes.

Israel continues to build the separation barrier east of Nu'man, which will cut the village off from the rest of the West Bank. At this stage of construction, only a narrow opening exists through which the residents are able to go to nearby West Bank villages. If Israel does not recognize the special situation of Nu'man, this opening will be closed and its residents trapped between the barrier and the physical roadblocks that prevent them from reaching other parts of Jerusalem.

Earlier this week, B'Tselem requested from Interior Minister Avraham Poraz to recognize residents of Nu'man as permanent residents of Israel. Until that time, B'Tselem urges Poraz to grant the residents temporary permits to enter and stay in Jerusalem, which will prevent expulsion of the residents from their homes and enable them to exhaust their legal remedies.

What can you do?

Write to Interior Minister Avraham Poraz (fax: +972-2-5666376) and urge him to recognize the residents of Nu'man as permanent residents and allow them to remain in their homes.

Village of Nu'man
Houses in Nu'man. Photo: B'Tselem

B'Tselem's letter to the Interior Minister
Background on Nu'man
B'Tselem's report on Nu'man (Word 97)
B'Tselem's report on Nu'man (RTF)
B'Tselem's report on Nu'man (PDF)
   High Court on Rafah: IDF must ensure residents' needs are met  

On 30 May 2004, the High Court of Justice ruled on the petition filed by four human rights organizations regarding the army's operation in Rafah last month. The High Court's decision includes a number of important declarations regarding the IDF's obligations regarding the Palestinian population.

The justices held that as the occupying force, the IDF not only has the obligation to refrain from harming the local population in areas in which it conducts operations, but must also take an active role in ensuring that their humanitarian needs are met. The decision emphasized that in planning for a military operation, the army must make the necessary preparations to ensure the provision of these needs, such as the supply of water, electricity, food, and medicine.

The justices also stated that the IDF acted improperly when it required that the names and ID numbers of the wounded be provided before it allowed them to be evacuated from the area in which the fighting was taking place.

In regards to burying persons killed during the operation, the Court stated that the IDF should have prepared solutions for such a situation, and that it should have suggested earlier the solution to which it ultimately agreed.

Earlier, the Commander of IDF forces in Gaza informed the High Court that most of the demands set forth in the petition had already been met. The High Court accepted the army's claim.

To the fullest extent of the means available to it the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate

Fourth Geneva Convention