ID-Card Confiscation from Palestinian Jerusalemites in 1998

Despite statements by the Israeli government in May 1997 that it would consider easing its policy of revoking ID cards of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem who do not succeed to document permanent domicile in the city, this Israeli policy has continued unchanged in 1998. According to the latest information released by the Ministry spokesperson Tova Elinson on September 14, the number of ID cards "found to have expired" between January - March 1998 is 176 with 500 cases still under investigation. The Ministry has so far abstained from responding to requests for more updated 1998 data. 

The number of Palestinians thus evicted from Jerusalem continues to rise steadily since the massive implementation of the Israeli policy in 1996; it reached 1,471 cases (1,471 families, i.e. roughly 6,800 individuals) by March 1998.
The continuation of this gross violation of Palestinian human rights is confirmed also by the findings of a new report entitled "The Quiet Deportation Continues" and released by the two Israeli human rights organizations B'tselem and Hamoked on 15 September 1998. The Interior Ministry's response to this report includes no substantial arguments which could refute the findings of Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations. In its response, the Ministry's Press and Public Relations Office also states that, In the light of Israel's aggressive and expansionist policies against Jerusalem's Palestinians, all official promises of this kind must be considered empty talk.

Stricter New Travel Regulations for Palestinian Jerusalemites?

Palestinian Jerusalemites were alarmed by a headline in the Palestinian dailies (al Quds, al Ayyam, 22-6-98) which informed them that residents of East Jerusalem wishing to travel to Jordan would soon need an Israeli laissez-passer, a temporary document issued for an individual trip, replacing the permits previously issued by the Interior Ministry. The source of the information was MK Saleh Tarif, who heard about it from Minister of the Interior Eli Suissa. Afterwards, Minister Suissa published a correction to the effect that it is not an Israeli laissez-passer document that is involved, but rather a different permit which will make it easier for Palestinian Jerusalemites to cross into Jordan.

The correction had no calming effect. Rumor's about the new arrangement provoke fear, especially if Interior Minister Suissa is involved. A new laissez-passer requirement would expose approximately 100,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites to the Minister's ID card confiscation scheme and make trips to Jordan a very risky endeavor. Until now, Jerusalem Palestinians have had a special arrangement for traveling to Jordan. They pay a special toll in the Interior Ministry office and fill a form with their personal data. At the Israeli side of the Allenby Bridge, the details on the form are confirmed and Palestinian Jerusalemites can cross the bridge to the Jordanian side.

Jerusalem ID Confiscation  1994 - 1998: Official Israeli Data
Year ID's Confiscated
1994 45
1995 96
1996 689
1997 606
1998* 176
*(1-3/1998) (500 cases still under investigation)

issue no. 25