Jerusalem residents concerned Israel changes residency rights

AMMAN: Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, as well as Syrian residents of the occupied Golan Heights, complain that they face unprecedented discrimination when they return to their homes in Israel due to their lack of freedom. Israeli citizenship.

Residents of occupied Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, which were annexed by Israel in 1967 and 1981, complained that they were denied the right to board planes to return home without a special ishur (permit).

They were told that this permit must be obtained from Israeli embassies or the Israeli foreign ministry.

Munir Nuseibah, director of the Community Action Center at Al-Quds University, confirmed the problem and told Arab News that complaints were coming to the center about Jerusalem residents having problems at airports.

“The complaints are very worrying. It is frightening to learn new Israeli procedures that are changing what we have been used to for decades. “

Khader Abu Alia, an English professor at Al-Quds University, told colleagues at the university that he was prohibited from entering the country.

He sent a message to members of the Israeli Knesset saying he must have been to the United States in mid-March and that when he boarded the return flight on April 14, he was told that ‘he was not allowed to enter upon arrival at Ben-Gurion Airport. passport control, as he did not have an Israeli passport.

Students attempting to board an Israel Airlines flight from Moscow on April 24 were banned and told that only people with Israeli passports would be allowed to travel to Israel.

The problem was later resolved and the students were allowed to travel.

Another problem arose when students, including from Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, tried unsuccessfully to board a plane from Turkey to Israel, and needed the intervention of Arab members of the Knesset before being allowed to return home.

Nuseibah told Arab News it was not clear if there were new regulations or if this problem was the result of the coronavirus pandemic, or if the virus was being used as a cover to pass new discriminatory laws. .

“We have prepared a lawsuit to challenge this new settlement, but we have decided not to take it into account until we find out whether the problems faced by the returning Jerusalemites are a one-time bureaucratic problem or a new change of direction. Politics. “

Nuseibah told Arab News that they had contacted Ahmad Tibi, the Arab Israeli member of the Knesset, who reassured him that there had been no policy changes.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and check with the Interior Ministry and the Foreign Ministry before deciding whether there is indeed a policy change or not.

“If we come to the conclusion that there is a change in policy, we will continue with the lawsuit that the new policy is discriminatory. “

Nuseibah concluded that “the Jerusalemites did not go to Israel but Israel came to Jerusalem and therefore the inhabitants of the city have the right to travel and return without any discriminatory regulations”.

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Albert C. Prince

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