HaMoked to the military: a selection of provisions in the revised "Standing Orders for the Seam Zone " must be amended
Ever since 2003, the Israeli military has been implementing a permit regime
in the areas of the West Bank trapped between the separation wall and the Green Line, dubbed the “seam zone”. Every Palestinian who lives in or wishes to enter these areas must first obtain a military-issued permit for that purpose. The permit regime applies to Palestinians only – Israelis and tourists do not require any permit to enter or stay in the “seam zone” areas. It is a creeping dispossession of West Bank lands that contradicts both Israeli and international law.
The “Standing Orders for the Seam Zone", the military legislation regulating the permit regime, are updated from time to time. In mid 2012, the military undertook before the court
to publish by September 1, 2012, new Standing Orders addressing the needs of Palestinians who were adversely affected by Israel's policy.
Despite the military's undertaking, the new Standing Orders
were published only in January 2014. On April 7, 2014, HaMoked wrote
to the military with a list of reservations and requests for the revision of provisions in the Standing Orders; HaMoked stated, among other things, that the Standing Orders were inaccessible to the Palestinian population because they were not available in Arabic; that the various timetables set in the Standing Orders for filing requests, providing answers, and so on, are problematic as well as unfair, because they do not allow the applicant to receive a response before the permit in his or her possession expires; the provisions do not allow monitoring the application-handling process in real time; the Standing Orders do not adequately regulate the issuing of permits to relatives of owners of agricultural lands inside the seam zone; that it is insufficient to allow olive harvest only in October-November, because the harvest season is longer and varies from place to place; the Standing Orders do not address the needs of people who do not own but lease land inside the seam zone; thus, overall, the Standing Orders are far from meeting the needs of the Palestinian population affected by the permit regime.
Israel has long kept assuring that the new Standing Orders would afford solutions to the manifold situations involving violations of rights of those Palestinians whose fate is tied to the area Israel calls the "seam zone". As it has now become clear that the new Standing Orders fail to meet the needs of the people who suffer daily under the permit regime, HaMoked will continue to follow the situation to see whether the military changes the provisions, and will act accordingly.