A note from Suhair ‘Abdi, Data Coordinator for B’Tselem.
Several B’Tselem staff members recently visited and filmed two checkpoints in the West Bank that serve as crossing points into Israel for Palestinians with work permits. More than 30,000 Palestinians currently have permits to work in Israel and may enter the country through any one of eleven checkpoints. The two checkpoints we visited are run by private security companies hired by the Ministry of Defense.
We encountered a harsh reality, whereby hardworking laborers are forced to forgo a night’s sleep and wait hours on end until the checkpoints open just so they can provide for their families and reach work on time. This situation is not the result of a force majeure but of decisions made by the Ministry of Defense.
The long, exhausting wait for the checkpoints to open is nothing new – six years ago, in 2007, B’Tselem already filmed similar images at those very checkpoints.
In its response to a feature story about Tarqumya Checkpoint that was broadcast on Israel’s Channel Two News, the Ministry of Defense stated that it is adopting measures to improve conditions at the checkpoints. B’Tselem wrote to the Ministry of Defense, asking about the nature of the proposed improvements and when they are scheduled to be implemented. Israel is duty-bound to ensure that people who have permission to enter the country to work can do so under humane conditions that accord them respect, not humiliation.
There are 40,000 to 50,000 individuals currently living in the Gaza Strip without ID cards recognized by Israel, and they have no official status anywhere else in the world. Some of them were born in the Gaza Strip but were never recognized as residents by Israel; some fled the Gaza Strip during the 1967 war, or left Gaza for various reasons after 1967 and returned later. A small number of these individuals were born in the Gaza Strip and have never left it, but do not have ID cards for various reasons. Other stateless individuals in the Gaza Strip are Palestinians from abroad who married Gaza residents, entered Gaza with visitor permits and remained after their permits expired.
Fore more on this story, visit: Israel must take action to regulate the status of tens of thousands of Gazans living without IDs | B’Tselem.