Hamoked - June 2022 nesletter

Dear friends,

Starting next week, the Israeli Ministry of Defense plans to enforce an outrageous new Procedure for Entry and Residence of Foreigners to the West Bank, imposing severe restrictions on anyone seeking to enter the West Bank, whether for a short family visit or to work, teach, study or volunteer there. This procedure not only affects foreigners; it is a blow to Palestinian society as a whole, effectively isolating it from the outside world – without any security rationale and in complete disregard for Israel’s obligations as the occupying power to ensure Palestinians’ welfare and rights.

HaMoked has just filed an urgent petition to the High Court of Justice to prevent the procedure coming into effect without fundamental revisions.

The 97-page procedure gives authority to the Israeli military to micromanage Palestinian society, deciding among other things whom Palestinian universities can hire as teaching staff (only people the military decides are “excellent lecturers” in “vital fields”, and even then only for one year); and who can come study in the West Bank (only 150 foreign students a year, subject to screening interviews in Israeli consulates in their countries of origin).

What is absent from the procedure is just as important: West Bank elementary and high schools cannot receive volunteers or hire staff from abroad; there are no visas for artists or athletes, nor can extended family members visit the West Bank. Jordanian, Moroccan or Egyptian nationals cannot enter the West Bank at all under the new procedure (they can only enter in “exceptional humanitarian circumstances” under another, even more stringent procedure). A person with dual citizenship, for example a Jordanian and European, would be considered a Jordanian and would not be permitted to study, work, volunteer or teach in the West Bank.

Our petition includes 19 individual petitioners who will be severely harmed by this new procedure, among them: 

  • Four families where one spouse is a foreign national (of Canada, Jordan, the US and the EU) who cannot live together in the West Bank;
  • Bassim Khoury, CEO of a leading Palestinian pharmaceutical company, who will be severely limited in his ability to bring to the West Bank foreign investors, suppliers, technicians and quality control experts, putting the entire company at risk;
  • Dr. Benjamin Thomson, a Canadian nephrologist, who would not be able to continue running his project to train Palestinian physicians in much needed medical specialties. The military’s procedure does not allow volunteers through the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and even if Dr. Thomson obtained a one-year volunteer visa, upon its expiration he would have to remain outside the West Bank for a full year before requesting another visa.

Alongside our litigation, we are also conducting domestic and international advocacy to stop this deplorable new procedure. Foreign governments must speak out against this blatant discrimination against their own nationals, and the unjustified restrictions on Palestinian society as a whole.




Jessica Montell
Executive Director of HaMoked

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