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Report: Who Israel's new military orders will affect

April 16, 2010 6:12 P.M. (Updated: April 19, 2010 7:14 P.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - The universally condemned Israeli military orders revealed on Sunday by Israeli rights group B'Tselem, went into effect on Tuesday, but have yet to be used in the deportation of any Palestinian in the West Bank.

The new regulations, under Israeli military order number 1650, expanded the definition of an "infiltrator" to any person residing in the West Bank without Israeli permission. The revelation of the order sparked wide interpretations of who would be targeted by the new rules.

PA Minister of Civil Affairs Hussein As-Sheikh said Tuesday that the new order "is not applicable to Gazans living or working in the West Bank; it is related to those who obtain a visa to visit Israel, who then won't be allowed to enter the West Bank."

According to the Gaza-based Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, however, the order is directed at "what appear to be specific groups, which include Palestinians from Gaza and their offspring as well as foreign citizens who support the rights of the Palestinian people and stay in the West Bank."

A statement from the organization, released on Wednesday, compiled statements from several Gaza residents who believe they will be targeted by the new orders. Despite PA reassurances that they will not be, confusion predominates fears.

The Al-Mezan report quoted one man, registered as a resident of Gaza who currently lives with his family in the West Bank, as saying that: "The Israeli order will destroy our lives. We will live as if we live in a huge prison even if we are not deported to Gaza. No one would dare to leave the city or to go from town to town afraid of the Israeli checkpoints. Who would keep his/her job in this unstable situation."

According to Al-Mezan's monitoring of Israeli press statements and general comments from officials on the matter, the orders authorize Israeli forces to deport any Palestinian who a holds Gazan identity card and expatriates visiting the West Bank.

The center's report said the new order "violates the right of Palestinians to free movement, travel and residence in their own country. It violates the right to protection and assistance accorded to the family and, in particular, children; the right to marry and start a family; and the right not to be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his family."

Specificity, the organization said, the order will affect spouses who have moved to be with their partners in the West Bank. Men and women who do not have West Bank in their ID card, or are foreign nationals who have been unsuccessful in their attempts to secure family reunification permits (approximately 5,000 of which are granted to Palestinians by Israeli officials each year), are at risk for deportation. There is no legal way for a Palestinian in the West Bank to transfer residency rights to a spouse or children born outside of the area.

"I had a fairly stable life before I heard about the Israeli order. Now I'm terrified and I feel insecure," Al-Mezan quoted Hikmat, a Palestinian woman from Gaza married to a man holding a West Bank ID card, as saying.

"I now ask myself: Could I hold my children between my arms and see them in the future? Would it be possible to stay with my husband? Is my relationship with my husband subject to the forcible segregation? Would it be possible for me to stay at my work? I became terrified of leaving the area in which I live afraid of being kidnapped at the Israeli checkpoints… I love Gaza and longing to visit my family there… but they (Israelis) have turned all our hopes into hell. Seeing your parents and family but being deprived of seeing your husband and children means hell, is not it? This is what will happen to me if I am deported from the West Bank," she told Al-Mezan.

A second Palestinian woman from Gaza married to West Bank ID holder, said her plans to have a second child were quickly put on hold when the military orders came out. "Quiet and safety are replaced by fear. I will not give birth to another child. ..I will not bear a child who will lose his family... a child who could be forced to live with one his parents," she was quoted as saying.
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