New Israeli ID Cards - 
A Step Towards Systematic ID-Card Confiscation in Occupied East Jerusalem?

Based on information provided by the Israeli Interior Ministry to the Israeli human rights organization B'tselem in early 1997, plans to replace the ID cards of all citizens and residents of Israel with new, "smart" (magnetic) ID cards are under preparation (Interior Ministry to B'tselem, 27-1-97). After one-and-a half year of silence, news and rumors about the imminent introduction of these new identity cards re-appeared in the Israeli and Palestinian press in the summer of 1998 (al Ayyam, 15-6-98, al Quds, 1-7-98, Yediot Aharonot, 30-6-98). At that time, the Ministry informed journalists that tenders for the design of the new ID cards were publicized and that several - including foreign - companies were preparing their offers. As of September 1998, no news has followed and timing and procedures of this endeavor remain unknown.

If and when this Israeli plan is realized, Palestinian residency rights in Jerusalem will be effected dramatically.  Palestinians will be obliged, by law, to file an application for a new ID card with the Interior Ministry, and the new ID card will be issued only after the applicant's personal file is cleared. This measure, presented by Israel as just another lawful bureaucratic procedure of a sovereign state, will entail a thorough, blanket investigation of all the Ministry's personal files on  Palestinian Jerusalemites. It will result in the revocation of Jerusalem residency rights from all those Palestinians who are unable to document that they live within the Israeli municipal boundaries of the city.

BADIL calls upon Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights organizations, PLO and PNA, and foreign governments to monitor all Israeli preparations for the introduction of new ID cards and to inquire with Israeli officials about criteria and procedures to be applied in occupied East Jerusalem.

issue no. 25