A military order that took effect last week bars Palestinians with permits to enter Israel from entering via the roads that Israelis use to enter the country from the West Bank.
The order also forbids Israelis to transport Palestinians with valid entry permits via these roads. Instead, Palestinians must enter via one of the 11 crossing points earmarked for them. Until now, Israelis could ferry Palestinians with valid permits into Israel without going through one of these special crossings.
The Defense Ministry’s Seam Line Administration has posted signs at all other access roads from the West Bank into Israel warning that non-Israelis may not use these crossings. However, the signs explicitly define “Israelis” not only as citizens or residents of the state, but also as tourists or anyone entitled to immigrate to! Israel under the Law of Return.
“The IDF was forced to change its deployment because of the exploitation of the crossings by terrorist elements to carry out terrorist acts inside Israel,” the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman said. The spokesman also stressed that transporting Palestinians via an “Israeli-only” crossing is against the law, and will be punished accordingly.
The order was signed by Major General Yair Naveh, the commander of the IDF forces in the West Bank, on December 15. It authorized the Civil Administration to determine which crossings could be used by non-Israelis, and also to determine “the arrangements that will apply at these crossing points.” In addition, it defined who is an Israeli, using
the same language that is now posted on the signs at the various crossings.
On January 3, Brigadier General Kamil Abu Rokun, the head of the Civil Administration, signed the list of 11 crossings that Palestinians would be allowed to use, ! and stated that the order would take effect a month from that date. Ei ght of these 11 crossings are not on the Green Line, but either within the West Bank or inside territory annexed to Jerusalem in 1967. The order does contain one exception: Palestinians employed by international organizations – a few hundred people – will be able to enter Israel via two routes that are otherwise reserved for Israelis. One of them is the Tunnel Road, which connects the Gush Etzion settlements to Jerusalem from the south, and the other is via the Hizma Checkpoint, which is used by the settlements north and east of Jerusalem.
Haaretz has learned that international organizations based in East Jerusalem had protested to the Civil Administration that their Palestinian workers, who travel with their foreign colleagues into Israel, would have to pass through separate border crossings. Following the protest, Palestinian laborers have been permitted to enter Jerusalem via the Tunnel Road and Hizma Checkpoint (east of Pisgat Zeev), which are reserved for Israel! is only.
A Civil Administration spokesman said the border crossing issue “is being examined and a final decision has not been made yet. Meanwhile the laborers are permitted to use those two crossings, to enable them to continue working regularly.”
AMIRA HASS writes for Ha’aretz. She is the author of Drinking the Sea at Gaza.