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Palestinian-Americans Among Thousands Blocked by Israel from Occupied Territories

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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-20-07 11:51 PM
Original message
Palestinian-Americans Among Thousands Blocked by Israel from Occupied Territories
Special Report on Democracy Now -- listen/watch/read transcript

link: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/18/1621247&mode=thread&tid=25#transcript

"We begin in Ramallah where the Israeli government has effectively frozen visitation and re-entry of foreign nationals of Palestinian origin to the Occupied Territories. Activists and human rights advocates are claiming that since last years election of Hamas, thousands have been denied entry into the West Bank and Gaza. The Israeli government initially denied that there had been a policy change. But on Tuesday, the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories released a letter stating that the policy of denying foreign nationals entry had been reversed. The letter was dated December 28th and had been sent to the Palestinian Authority.
Yet - the organization Campaign for the Right of Entry and Re-Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territory maintains that they know of at least 14 foreign citizens who only last week were denied entrance to the Territories. They say that in addition to being discriminatory, this policy is tearing families apart, blocking students from finishing their education, and keeping people from their jobs and businesses. The Israeli human rights group Btzelem wrote in a recent report that the crackdown is part of a broader policy to limit the growth of the Palestinian population by preventing the entry of spouses and children of residents, and by stimulating emigration from the area.

We go now to the Occupied Territories where Sam Bahour and Anita Abdullah are with us from Ramallah.

Sam Bahour. Palestinian-American businessman and one of the coordinators of the Campaign for Right of Entry/Re-Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Anita Abdullah. Anita is on the coordinating committee for the Campaign for the Right of Entry/Re-Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. She is a researcher at Birzeit University, Institute of Community and Public Health.

Leah Tsemel. Israeli Human Rights Lawyer.

Suzy Salamy.Palestinian-American filmmaker recently denied entry by Israeli authorities."


Special Report on Democracy Now -- listen/watch/read transcript

link: http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/18/1621247&mode=thread&tid=25#transcript

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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 12:02 AM
Response to Original message
1. Check out this website. Right to Enter
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 01:37 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. thanks a lot Tom
I thought this was one of the most disturbing parts of the special:

"Leah Tsemel. Israeli Human Rights Lawyer:

JUAN GONZALEZ: Yes, Id like to ask Leah Tsemel, to what degree is the Israeli public aware of these restrictions? And what has been the government's justification, although initially they werent even acknowledging that the restrictions existed?

LEAH TSEMEL: I believe that everyone in Israel is able to have all the information, because the information is overt; it's in the daily press, on television. It's well-published. But it seems that the Israeli public is quite indifferent or even supportive to this attitude towards the Palestinians. Obviously, I believe that this of denying Palestinians -- Palestinians are required foreign citizenship from staying in the Occupied Territories or, for that matter, in Israel, and having roots there is an outcome of apartheid.

There is a need increasingly in Israel to segregate the Palestinians, to isolate them. And every educated, well-known people with impact or connections are not welcome. And I think this is the basis of this policy. They don't want all these powerful foreigners, some of them with money, some of them with education; they don't want them around. They want to have poor, needy Palestinians, who would sell their power of work cheaply, and that's it. This is the main purpose, to isolate the Palestinians and to impoverish them. Therefore, it's not a surprise that even the higher education policy is very clear. They don't want to have those foreigners to teach in the different universities. They want to dry up the education, to dry up the economy, and to turn the Palestinians into even poorer and more needy people. "

listen/watch/read transcript:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/18/1621247&mode=thread&tid=25#transcript

Sam Bahour. Palestinian-American businessman and one of the coordinators of the Campaign for Right of Entry/Re-Entry to the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

"JUAN GONZALEZ: And, Sam Bahour, in terms of the Israeli policy toward foreigners who are not Palestinian nationals or other Americans, for instance, are they giving them more ability to travel into the Territories than the Palestinian nationals who are holding foreign citizenship?

SAM BAHOUR: Absolutely not. Those of us from Palestinian ethnicity are facing this on a regular basis. Equally are facing it, those that are not from Palestinian background. We've had several people approach the campaign, teachers from an American school here in Ramallah that have been turned back. Weve had business people, some very large business concerns, US business concerns, on the ground here in Ramallah serving the economy at large; they were turned back.

The policy has been rather generic in its application, and I think it goes to show, even one step further, that we can take President Carter's word of apartheid and the Israeli researcher Ilan Pappes word of ethnic cleansing and put those two things together, and the result of that equation would be a continued unilateral Israeli policy to empty Palestine from Palestinians or any other resources that are interested in building Palestine.

So we are just as committed to ending the occupation as everyone else, but we feel that our contribution to ending the occupation may be building bridges and building an economy or building an education system, and it seems that Israel doesn't want even a constructive approach to building Palestine. The only result of this will be emptying Palestine of about a half a million Palestinians, as well as creating, as Attorney Tsemel said, an economy thats basically a Somalia-style economy. And I fear that if the international community does not rise to the occasion and make sure international law is applied by Israel, as the law defines, then we will be in for another "

listen/watch/read transcript:

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/18/1621247&mode=thread&tid=25#transcript


.
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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 09:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. This is one thing our US congresspeople have an obligation to intervene on.
They are denying the rights of US citizens.

If congress can't do anything even about this, how can we expect Congress to care about the rights of Palestinians who are not US citizens?
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jan-30-07 08:37 AM
Response to Reply #5
17. if they're going back to Palestinian territories to live
why should the US care what happens to them? Reminds me of the Lebanese-Americans who took American citizenship as a convenience, stayed in Lebanon, and then sqawked for Uncle Sam to save their expatriate asses when the Israeli invasion took place, then turned around and went back to Lebanon when the shooting stopped; all the while expecting American taxpayers to foot the bill. Fuck'em, who needs citizens like that?
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 09:28 AM
Response to Original message
3. kik
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 08:26 PM
Response to Original message
4. Ethnic cleansing Israeli style. Disgusting.
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Tom Joad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-21-07 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. The prisoners will not be allowed visitors. West Bank and Gaza, nothing but open-air
prisons.
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-22-07 05:57 AM
Response to Original message
7. kick
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-22-07 09:35 PM
Response to Original message
8. B'tselem:The Prohibition on Family Unification in the Occupied Territories



link: http://www.btselem.org/English/Family_Separation/Index.asp

"Despite the many changes in Israeli control of the Occupied Territories since the occupation began in 1967, registration of persons in the population registry of the Occupied Territories and the granting of visitor's permits in the area has remained under Israel 's almost absolute control. Most of the powers transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the framework of the Oslo Agreements in these areas of activity are as brokers between the Palestinian population and the Israeli authorities, with Israel retaining the substantive powers. Israel 's withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, in August 2005, did not substantially change this situation. Although the crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt (Rafah Crossing) has since then been controlled by the PA, the PA is not permitted to allow the entry of persons who are not registered in the population registry unless the person has a visitor's permit approved in advance by Israel.

The only procedure available to a person not registered in the population registry to be allowed to live lawfully in the Occupied Territories is family unification. A request for family unification may be submitted only by a first-degree relative of the applicant who holds residency status in the Occupied Territories . Most requests are submitted for residents' wives who are of Palestinian origin and Jordanian nationals. The large number of families in which one spouse is a resident and the other a foreigner results from the continuing ties of residents with the Palestinian diaspora and from Israel's policy, which forced residents to find work and to study abroad, and to establish a family outside the Occupied Territories.

The family unification procedure is closely tied to another bureaucratic procedure: obtaining a visitor's permit. First, only a person who is physically present in the Occupied Territories can be registered in the population registry and receive an identity card, if the person's request for family unification is approved. Therefore, the possibility of realizing the approval given by Israel depends on receiving a visitor's permit, which enables entry into the Occupied Territories . Presence is also required for registration of children born abroad to parents who are residents of the Occupied Territories , and in this, case, too, there is a close connection between the two procedures. Second, given that the family unification process has always taken several years to complete, many persons need to repeatedly obtain visitor's permits to enable them to live together with their families, even for short periods of time. Spouses of residents (the majority of whom are women) who following petitions to the High Court of Justice were given "long-term visitor" status, which allowed them to remain in the Occupied Territories until the family unification request was processed, also have to renew their visitor's permits every six months.

Shortly after the outbreak of the second intifada on September 29, 2000, Israel decided not to process requests submitted by Palestinian residents for family unification with their spouses and family members living abroad, and not to issue visitor's permits to these non-residents (hereafter: the freeze policy). Israel has not explained the purpose of the new policy, stating only that, " because of recent incidents , the handling of requests for family unification in Judea and Samaria has stopped"

Despite the new policy, the Palestinian Authority continues to receive new requests for family unification and visitor's permits, but Israel refuses to process them. Israel also refuses to approve requests that it received prior to the second intifada, except in exceptional instances that it considers "humanitarian cases."

Tens of thousands of Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories are married to foreign national non-residents. According to this policy, these residents must file a request for family unification to enable them to live lawfully in the Occupied Territories with their spouses. Since the inception of the freeze policy, the only way for Palestinian to live under one roof with their foreign spouses who are abroad is by emigrating to the spouse's native land. This position is primarily dictated by political considerations, whose objective is to change the demographics of the Occupied Territories by blocking immigration of spouses of residents of the Occupied Territories into the area and by encouraging emigration of divided Palestinian families.

Israel 's policy totally ignores the social reality existing in the Occupied Territories , in which marriage between residents and relatives from outside the area is extremely widespread. In employing this policy, Israel forces residents to make a cruel choice between family separation and leaving their homeland. The Israeli authorities inflict ongoing suffering on hundreds of thousands of persons and force them to live in a new reality. Spouses are unable to live together under one roof, children grow up in one-parent families, residents refrain from going abroad for medical treatment out of fear they will not be allowed to return to their families.

It being almost impossible to obtain a visitor's permit or approval of family unification, many spouses who were in the area when the freeze policy took effect remain there after their permits expired. As a result, tens of thousands of them have become "persons staying illegally" in the Occupied Territories and are forced to live an underground existence. Out of constant fear of deportation, tens of thousands of foreign women live in the Occupied Territories without any status, and live like prisoners in their homes, unable to live a normal life.

Denial of the right to family life severely impairs the social, economic, and mental condition of every member of these families. The harm increases day by day as long as the freeze continues.

As of October 2005, the Palestinian Authority had received more than 120,000 requests for family unification submitted by West Bank and Gaza residents that Israel has refused to process. If Israel would begin again to handle family unification requests and apply the quota set in 2000 (4,000 a year), it would take at least thirty years to process all the requests that have accumulated.

The relationship between the residents of the Occupied Territories and the Occupied Territories is like that between citizens and their country, even though the residents do not have the status of citizens of the Occupied Territories . They were born there or lived there for many years after arriving as refugees; most are not citizens or residents of another state and are not immigrants who came to the Occupied Territories from another country, so they have no other homeland to which they can go to live with their family. Their right to maintain a proper family life in the Occupied Territories is a basic right, which Israel may not deny. Freezing the procedure for obtaining family unification and visitor's permits artificially freezes life, in breach of international humanitarian law and the express prohibition set by Israel 's Supreme Court.

Of course, Israel may, under international law, take into account its security needs in establishing policy in the Occupied Territories . But the claim of security needs does not entitle it to do whatever it wishes, or to trample on the human rights of the Palestinian population. This is precisely what Israel does in implementing its family unification policy in the Occupied Territories .

The government of Israel must begin immediately to process requests for family unification and visitor's permits so as to enable the residents to exercise their right to live as families in the Occupied Territories within a reasonable period of time. Israel must ignore political and demographic considerations, and weigh only its security needs, while fully respecting the human rights involved. "
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-26-07 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
9. kick
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UndertheOcean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-26-07 05:59 PM
Response to Original message
10. Ethnic Cleansing Israeli Style ...quite sickening....really disgusting.
n/t
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-27-07 11:23 AM
Response to Reply #10
12. and along with everything else it contributes to the crippling economic viability
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breakaleg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-27-07 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. And the people they are currently trying to keep out and educated, wealthy Palestinians who
made the choice to return to their home to make the place better - create jobs, create and economy. Those people are hardly terrorists.

It just proves that Israel is up to no good in this regard.
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number6 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jan-26-07 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
11. kick
:kick:

Jimmy is right, peace not apartheid
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Scurrilous Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-27-07 04:41 PM
Response to Original message
14. West Bank heart surgeon faces possible deportation from Israel
<snip>

"An open-heart surgeons based in the West Bank said on Saturday he had been detained at Israel's airport and faced possible deportation.

After being detained for more than a day at Israel's Ben Gurion Airport, Israel granted Dirgham Abu Ramadan, a German cardiologist of Palestinian origin, a one-week extension on his tourist visa and allowed him to enter the country.

"They told me I was allowed in for seven days during which I would either get a work permit or I leave the country," Abu Ramadan told Reuters.

Abu Ramadan has performed surgeries at hospitals across the occupied West Bank and in the Gaza Strip for years. He said he has 270 surgeries scheduled in the coming months.

Mazen al-Shawa, general manager of the al-Mezan Hospital in the West Bank city of Hebron, said Abu Ramadan was scheduled to perform eight procedures on Saturday alone. "This is a very grave issue. He's the only professional surgeon in the West Bank," al-Shawa said."

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/818293.html
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UndertheOcean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-27-07 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Despicable
n/t
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Douglas Carpenter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-27-07 10:55 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. thanks for posting Mr. Scurrilous
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