Saturday, May 31, 2008
To: Israeli and Palestinian Authorities
Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, who lives in the West Bank, has been invited to attend a media conference in Germany. As required, he set about to request all of the necessary travel documents, including a visa that needs to be granted from the German representative office in Ramallah. After routine questioning regarding his political affiliations, it was not only determined that he was not a member of any party, nor formally associated with any organisation, but it was clear that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. Mr Amayreh was granted an entry visa to Germany. However, the Israeli military authorities have refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank. No Palestinian can travel abroad without receiving such a permit beforehand, otherwise he or she would be turned back once arriving at the Israeli-controlled border terminal at the Allenby Bridge.
Mr Amayreh then went to his local District Coordination Office in Dura, where he was informed that his information was forwarded to the Shin Bet (General Security Services) of the Israeli government. Then two days later, the GSS informed the Palestinian office that Amayreh was “barred from leaving the West Bank for security reasons.” No further explanation was given.
His fortune in obtaining the required travel permission did not change as he applied to the Civil Administration Headquarters in Hebron, a metallic pen holding persons seeking the mandatory permission even to go to East Jerusalem for medical treatment, where it is not unusual to find them huddled and waiting their turn for ten or more hours, under the watchful eye of Israeli military watchtowers.
The Palestinian Civil Affairs Coordination Office in the West Bank was also unable to mediate on his behalf, as they too are entirely dependent upon the decisions, without clarification, evidence or justification, made by the Israeli Security division.
There is indeed no justification for the violation of this man’s civil and human rights, and along with him, the rights of all others who are denied freedom of movement with no justification whatsoever. The Occupation authorities, while they have no sovereignty over citizens of the Palestinian Authority, dictate what must be done with those citizens and the world seems to consider the violation of their rights acceptable and normal praxis. These people are not pawns on a chessboard, but are individuals who seek the basic liberties that all democracies are obligated to provide for their people. The Palestinian Authority does not exercise its duty of guaranteeing civil liberties to its own citizens, and treats them as if they shall be subject to the whims of the Occupier.
We ask for the immediate revision of the decision regarding Mr Amayreh, so that he is granted the documents necessary for him to exercise his freedom of movement allowing him to continue to provide for himself and his family in the work that he is employed in, as well as for the Palestinian Authority to assume a position that sets the freedoms of its citizens as a priority that is greater than the perceived “security” risks declared by the agency of the State of Israel.