Problems Exist in the Following Areas
Until mid-April there was still no practice of renewing visit permits in Gaza. A certain number of permits, largely belonging to people who had High Court appeals and applications to the State Legal Advisor, had been renewed, but there was no implementation of the renewal policy. UNRWA has not yet received a written response to some 50 cases it appealed in January and February. David Benyamin of the Gaza Legal Advisor’s office told Said Taufish/UNRWA that he was unable to act until he received authorization from above.
Re-entry of spouses present in 1990, 1991, and 1992: In the months immediately following November a number of people covered by the Agreement but not present in the country were allowed to return to the West Bank. It has become progressively harder, however, for spouses to obtain the required visit permits.
HOTLINE has evidence of tens of such cases in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who have not been granted six months visit permits. This although the authorities agree that they should be issued such permits because they are covered by the Agreement. It is feared that these married women and men whose families live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip will be allowed to enter during the summer season only. In this case, they will be included in the unofficial quota for visitors in the summer, although they have the right to come and live with their families immediately.
Problem of Collaborator Permits: While many people entitled to immediate re-entry have been refused permits, it appears to be the case that collaborators are able to obtain permits for spouses, whether or not they are covered by the Agreement. The price of such permits has increased drastically over the past few months from US $ 200 in February to US $ 400 - 500 in April. Although collaborator permits are not new, we witness a situation in which the issue of law is irrelevant and the role, and cost, of collaborators is expanding in the face of people’s needs.
Problems to Leave and Re-enter: Although the West Bank Legal Advisor said in October 1991 that persons covered by six-month permits would be able to leave the occupied territories for short visits abroad and re-enter without problems, this promise has not materialized. In November 1992 the attorneys representing Palestinian families asked, to no avail, for a clarification of procedures involved. In the best case, the person leaves the Occupied Territories, and when he/she wishes to come back, the spouse pays the full price of a new one-month visit permit which is then renewed for six months. This leads to extra charges of over NIS 600 per person. In many cases, however, there are further problems: spouses are told that they have to spend at least three months outside the Occupied Territories; new visit permits are not issued; permits are issued but the person is turned back at the Jordan Bridge, etc.
Lack of Medical Coverage:
The medical coverage promised in the November Agreement (eligibility for insurance and coverage for childbirth and care for children up to three years of age under the same terms as residents) has not materialized and, in some regions, has been withdrawn. Our largest evidence is from Nablus region, where village clinics have refused treatment to children under three and to the unregistered children of insured families; the nurses said they received orders prohibiting them from treating the children. Also the head of the health department in Nablus said that there was no coverage for non-residents in government hospitals and clinics.