Monday, December 3, 2012

Effective annexation: Israel now stamping passports of West Bank visitors “Judea and Samaria only”

By Ali Abunimah

"Because the Palestinian Authority has no real control or sovereignty, anyone who wishes to go to the occupied West Bank can only do so with Israeli permission. This includes foreign visitors and thousands of Palestinians with third country passports who live or visit there.

Even though many foreign nationals live and work in the West Bank, there is no such thing as a work permit that allows them to work for Palestinian institutions or companies based in the occupied West Bank, or simply to live there securely.

So such people get Israeli “tourist” visas which they have to constantly renew and which are frequently arbitrarily denied.

Hundreds of Palestine solidarity activists challenging Israel’s iron grip on who can enter and leave the West Bank, have been expelled or denied entry over the past year.

It is not just ordinary people who are denied entry by the occupying regime, but even foreign government officials trying to meet with the Palestinian Authority.

This is an Israeli abuse that has even been documented by US diplomatic missions in the region.

Stamping passports “Judea and Samaria”

In the past, an Israeli visa meant that a foreign visitor or Palestinian with a foreign passport could roam throughout “Israel” and across the West Bank.
But since at least 2009, Israel began stamping passports of visitors to the West Bank with the words “Palestinian Authority only,” meaning that the bearer could only move within the occupied West Bank.
Now in a significant new development, Israel has begun stamping passports with the words “Judea & Samaria only.”...."

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