New travel restriction: Israel prevents newborn babies registered in the Palestinian registry from leaving the West Bank with their mothers eager to return to their homes and spouses abroad
On September 24, 2020, HaMoked sent an urgent letter demanding the military allow foreign travel to Palestinians registered in the Palestinian population registry, even when their details are not updated in the Israeli copy of the registry. HaMoked clarified that at stake was the basic right of each person to leave their country, and reminded that as a rule, Palestinians from the West Bank are not even required to obtain a permit in advance to go abroad via the Allenby Bridge border crossing. However, military regulations require that those departing through Allenby Bridge have their accurate details in the Israeli registry copy. This is impossible now for thousands of Palestinians due to the freeze of coordination between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the state of Israel, as part of which, the PA does not update the Israeli side on the issuance of new passports and identity numbers.
Consequently, complained HaMoked, Israel has been preventing many families from returning to their homes abroad with the babies born in recent months in the West Bank, who were registered by their parents in the Palestinian population registry. Earlier on, HaMoked wrote to the military on behalf of individual women who recently gave birth in the West Bank, and have birth certificates and passports issued for their babies by the PA. The newborns’ details have also been entered into their mothers’ Palestinian identity cards. But the military refuses to allow these women to return along with their babies to their homes abroad, where their spouses await them eagerly. This constitutes a severe violation of the rights to freedom of movement and the right to family life, and runs contrary to the legal obligation to prioritize a child’s best interests. It should be noted that in the framework of a petition filed by HaMoked in one of these cases, the court has been asked to compel an overall solution for such cases.
HaMoked clarified that the military is obligated to protect the rights of all members of the protected population of the oPt, whether their updated details appear in the Israeli copy of the registry or not. Therefore, said HaMoked, the military must act promptly to enable the banned families to leave the West Bank.
* During the hearing in HaMoked’s petition, held on October 25, 2020, the state announced that despite the freeze of coordination, information was still received from the Palestinian side, allowing the registration of babies in the Israeli copy and consequently, their departure from the West Bank.