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לקריאה בעברית


Dear friends

Our advocacy and litigation against the draconian new procedure restricting the entry and stay of foreigners in the West Bank has borne some fruit. Earlier this month, the military published a revised procedure, dropping two of the more outrageous conditions: there is no longer a quota on foreign lecturers and students who can come to the West Bank, and a foreigner is no longer required to inform the Israeli military within thirty days of entering into a romantic relationship with a Palestinian. Is this cause for celebration? Not really. It reminds me of the Jewish folktale about the rabbi and the goat.

You may know this story: a poor woman goes to her rabbi, complaining about her overcrowded house, far too small for her large family. “You should bring your goat into the house” the rabbi tells her. The dismayed woman complies. But a few days later she goes back to the rabbi, wailing that the situation has only gotten worse. The rabbi tells her to remove the goat, and when she does, the woman is elated: “I can’t believe how spacious my house is now!”

I have told this story many times lately. It captures something of the dynamic fundamental to the Israeli occupation: The military introduces a new policy or procedure that aggravates the violation of Palestinians’ rights. We mobilize to challenge it to prevent further deterioration – knowing that the core violations will remain.

Thus with new procedure. The military has removed a “goat” from the revised version, but its essence remains the same: illegal control and interference with Palestinian civil society.

We will not be satisfied with these isolated changes to a procedure that still threatens to isolate Palestinian civil society and prevent thousands of families where the spouses are a Palestinian and foreign national from living together in the West Bank. We’ve already sent the military an exhaustive list of our demands and are gearing up for the next stage of the fight, both in the courts and through international advocacy. Palestinian families must be able to live together. Palestinian institutions must be free to set their own priorities and enjoy international cooperation.  

On the eve of the Jewish new year, I wish those celebrating a shana tova – may it be a sweet and prosperous year for all.  

And to everyone, thank you for supporting our work.

All the best,


Jessica Montell
Executive Director of HaMoked

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