comparison of the 1999 figure with official Israeli figures for previous years (1998: 788; 1997: 1067) suggests two major trends in the Israeli policy of ID card confiscation in Jerusalem:
1. A general decline of the number of ID cards confiscated;
2. A significant decrease in the number of ID cards confiscated from Palestinian Jerusalemites residing in West Bank areas outside the Israeli determined city borders. This trend suggests that repeated assurances by Israeli officials to adopt a more flexible definition of "center of life in the city" are being implemented by the Interior Ministry.
3. The confiscation of ID cards from Palestinian Jerusalemites living abroad or from those who have acquired permanent residency or citizenship elsewhere continues to be an issue of concern. This approach stands in marked contrast to that applied to Israeli Jews who are permitted to hold residency/citizenship elsewhere.While 1999 data suggests that local and internation al scrutiny and protests against the Israeli policy of administrative ethnic cleansing through ID card confiscation from Palestinian Jerusalemites have been effective, it is important to emphasize that several important issues remain yet to be resolved.
The Israeli government and Interior Ministry must define what it means to maintain an "appropriate connection" to Jerusalem. According to the 31 October 1999 statement by Israel's Attorney General to the High Court, the permanent residency of Palestinians who can demonstrate an "appropriate connection" to Jerusalem will not be revoked. In the absence of a definition, however, Palestinians will not know how to protect and maintain their residency rights in Jerusalem under Israeli law.
The Israeli authorities must provide a mechanism for the restitution of the residency rights of the more than 3,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites and their dependents, who had become victims of this illegal policy between 1995-2000. The same mechanism must apply to restitute the thousands of Palestinian Jerusalemites whose residency rights were cancelled by the Israeli occupation in previous periods. Israel must recognize the inalienable right of Palestinians to live in their capital Jerusalem.
Despite the reduced number of ID cards confiscated in the last quarter of 1999, and the new policy, Israeli law remains unchanged. Under the 1974 Entry into Israel Regulations the right of Palestinians to freely live in their hometown remains insecure