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South Africa condemns 'infiltration order'

April 22, 2010 2:01 P.M. (Updated: April 24, 2010 9:14 A.M.)
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israel's Prevention of Infiltration Order 1650 caused the South African government to have "taken note, with the greatest concern," over a policy a statement called a "violation of an individual’s human rights."

Moreover, the statement said, the law is "reminiscent of past laws under apartheid South Africa," and called the situation "unacceptable."

"South Africa, because of its history, is particularly sensitive to the infringement of human rights that the carrying of a permit implies and should this “permit” not be the correct one, the unilateral punishments that can be brought to bear on an individual by the state, without the individual having recourse to an independent court of law," the statement read.

Israel's military order 1650, which went into effect on 13 April, expanded the definition of a 1960s order allowing the deportation of infiltrators. The new order declares all those who do not hold special permission from Israel infiltrators, making them vulnerable to expulsion and deportation.

Palestinians believe the order targets Gaza residents living in the West Bank, and foreign nationals married to Palestinians. While Palestinian officials have said the order will not see the mass expulsion of tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, Israel's decision to deport a Tulkarem man to Gaza on Wednesday following the completion of his prison term only served to exacerbate tensions.

In its statement, the government of South Africa said it "adds its voice to a growing international condemnation of Israeli actions against Palestine," and, "in the strongest possible terms calls on Israel to create an environment that is conducive to negotiations and not one that intensifies the mistrusts between Israelis and Palestinians and to honour the commitments it signed up to in the Oslo Peace Accords."
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