Scheduled for Monday 5 September, the entry into force of a series of measures decided by the Israeli authorities will severely limit the entry and stay of foreigners in the West Bank. They concern the conditions of access to visas which are limited to this occupied territory only: their holders cannot circulate in Israel, cannot travel to Jerusalem or go through Tel Aviv airport.
The new rules, in particular, could have serious consequences for thousands of Palestinian spouses. “We do not have the possibility to obtain long-term visas, we renew them every three or six months, explains an American mother who has been married to a Palestinian for eight years and prefers to hide her name. With the new regulations I will be able to do it for twenty-seven months and after that I will have to leave the territory for six to nine months before I can ask for a return. Can you imagine what it means for your family life, your existence? ” At a table in a chic café in Ramallah, he explains that for several months he has been trying to raise awareness among the American authorities on this issue.
Family, work, volunteer work, studies … The 62 pages of the provisional document published by Cogat, the military body that manages the civil affairs of Palestinians in the occupied territories, details a series of rules that significantly reduce the chances for foreigners to stay for long periods in the West Bank. These procedures “empower the Israeli army to micromanage Palestinian society”, in June denounced a petition presented by the Israeli human rights NGO HaMoked.
For example, a quota of 150 student visas has been set. “Israel itself benefits greatly from the [programme d’échange universitaire] Erasmus +, the Commission believes that it should facilitate and not hinder students’ access to Palestinian universities “, the European executive reacted at the end of July, indicating that he had spoken “your concerns” on the new rules in bilateral meetings with Israeli officials.
No visas will be issued for primary and secondary teachers or for guest teachers with dual nationality with a particular Arab country. The army also sets a quota for university teachers “Who excel in essential professions” and may come for a maximum of twenty-seven months. “This is a frontal attack on academic freedom, Judge Edouard Jurkevich, Israeli professor of microbiology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, author, along with ten other colleagues, of a letter in March asking his rector to protest against these measures at the Israeli Defense Ministry. A soldier between 20 and 25 years old and an officer who, perhaps, has gone to university will judge the academic quality of a professor! They have no skills! “
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