Reports & Articles

Israel prevented more than 10,000 Palestinians from traveling abroad in 2021

Jerusalem24 – The Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, reported today, Wednesday, that Israel prevented more than 10,000 Palestinian residents of the West Bank from traveling abroad during the past year 2021.

According to the newspaper, nearly 50% of the appeals submitted against their travel refusal were subsequently approved to allow their applicants to travel.

A source from the Civil Administration told the Israeli newspaper, that the travel ban in many cases is done automatically through the computer. This is due to some of them having family ties with “those involved in terrorism” – according to the source’s description – and after submitting an appeal it is examined individually.

The newspaper pointed out that these data were disclosed following a petition submitted by the Center for the Defense of the Individual “HaMoked.” The numbers show that in 2017, 13,937 Palestinians were prevented from traveling for security reasons, while in 2021 the number reached 10,594 for the same reasons.

Noting that they may not necessarily have reached the crossings and were prevented from traveling, they are identified as a list of people who are prohibited from traveling.

Palestinians seeking to travel abroad must cross the “Allenby Bridge,” which is a checkpoint controlled by the Israeli forces. From there they head to Jordan’s airport, and over the years, many cases have been documented in which Palestinians arrived at the crossing and were prevented from doing so without knowing in advance that they are prohibited from traveling abroad.

The Israeli Civil Administration has been collecting data related to requests to cancel the ban since 2019, and according to its data, 838 requests to cancel the travel ban were submitted in 2019, 352 of them (42%) were approved. In 2021, 339 requests were submitted to cancel the ban and all of them were approved. Approval of 143 (49%), with figures indicating that nearly half of appeals filed in 2021 were accepted despite the arbitrary way decisions are made on this issue.

According to the procedures of the Civil Administration, appeals are answered within eight weeks, and according to the data provided, about 70% of requests have been answered within this time frame in the past three years, and if any appeal or petition is rejected, a single-line reformulation of the reason is submitted. Just describe the circumstances that led to the ban, for example, “You are a Hamas operative.”

Laith Abu Ziyad, a West Bank resident working for Amnesty International, banned from traveling abroad for two years, first discovered this in 2019, when he tried to leave the West Bank to attend a relative’s funeral in Jordan and filed a petition in December of Last year, he petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court and was then allowed to travel to London.

Over the years, “HaMoked” documented cases in which requests to cancel the ban were not answered within eight weeks, and only when a petition was submitted is the request accepted and the ban canceled.

Israel required Palestinians who are prohibited from traveling abroad to sign the “Form Abstaining from Participating in Terrorism,” and the ban was lifted only after submitting a petition on the matter and on condition that they sign the form.

Jessica Montell, the executive director of Hamoked, said that more than 10,000 Palestinians have been placed on the security blacklist and prevented from traveling without any prior notice or explanation, and when one of them goes to travel, they are surprised by the ban. They are removed from that list only when appeals are submitted.

The Shin Bet security service said, “The military commander is responsible for the security and public order at all crossings in the West Bank and has the authority to prevent any person from leaving the area, and according to their estimation, the decision is taken given the degree of security risks involved.”

Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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