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Amira Hass: WEST OF THE FENCE

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  • ummyakoub
    IDF REDEFINES PALESTINIANS WEST OF THE FENCE Amira Hass, Haaretz, 10/15/03 http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/349526.html One of the questions raised
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 26, 2003
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      IDF REDEFINES PALESTINIANS WEST OF THE FENCE
      Amira Hass, Haaretz, 10/15/03
      http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/349526.html

      One of the questions raised immediately after it
      became clear that for the most part, the
      separation fence would not be built along the
      length of the Green Line, but in fact somewhere to
      the east of it, was the fate of the Palestinians
      living to the west of the fence. As of now, this
      fate is shared by approximately 12,000 persons
      living in 15 Palestinian villages and towns, from
      Salim in the northern West Bank to Mas'ha, to the
      south of Qalqilyah (near the settlement of
      Elkana). They are shut in between the separation
      fence to the east, and the Green Line to the west.
      As construction of the fence continues, deep into
      the territory of the West Bank, more Palestinians
      will find themselves in this situation.


      Additionally, the fence affects
      the lives of tens of thousands
      of other people, whose homes
      are east of the fence, and
      whose land, on which they earn
      their livelihood, is to the
      west. All told, according to
      the findings of the Palestinian
      Department of Negotiations, the
      route that the first stage of

      the fence will take (up to Elkana on the south)
      has so far cut off from the West Bank about
      100,000 dunams (25,000 acres) of
      Palestinian-owned land, some of which is
      settled, most of which is farmland.

      The issues are real; already, the most serious
      concerns have been proven true. Even before the
      Palestinians had a chance to come to terms with
      the loss of their land for the sake of the
      series of fortifications that is known as the
      "obstacle," they discovered that their ordinary
      lives had been completely disrupted - that it
      was possible to further disrupt their already
      disrupted reality of internal closures in the
      West Bank, curfews on cities and villages and
      military attacks. Farmers cannot make their way
      to their land; hothouses and orchards have been
      destroyed; olives are left unpicked; teachers
      and students fail to get to school because the
      gate of the separation fence is not opened on
      time; feed for the livestock does not arrive
      consistently - and the animals are being sold
      or slaughtered, or left to die; water pipes for
      drinking or irrigation have been cut; siblings
      and parents are not permitted to visit; garbage
      trucks are unable to complete their routes;
      cesspits are not being drained on time. All of
      the above examples have been documented, with a
      hundred different variations, in all of these
      trapped communities.

      A bureaucratic, official answer to the question
      was given last week. The regular disruption of
      ordinary life will henceforth be defined and
      delineated in a series of new army orders. They
      will gradually apply to tens of thousands of
      additional Palestinians that will soon find
      themselves living or working between the fence
      and the State of Israel. The latest army orders
      create a new category of Palestinian resident -
      "long-term resident" - a category that
      distinguishes between Palestinians living west
      of the fence and those living to its east, a
      new classification that will command the
      attentions of the swelling Israeli military
      bureaucracy.

      Permit required from age 12

      At the end of last week, residents of the
      villages that are trapped between the fence and
      the Green Line, in the Tul Karm and Qalqilyah
      districts, found that the army had distributed
      forms that bore the heading: "Israel Defense
      Forces, Security Directives Order (Judea and
      Samaria) (No. 378) 1970." They found the forms
      taped to the gates of the separation fence, or
      on electricity poles, or on the concrete blocks
      of the manned army roadblocks, or tossed next
      to the door of the local grocery store.

      They found four types of forms, all of which
      referred to Order No. 378: signed on one form
      was the name of Major General Moshe Kaplinski,
      the commander of IDF forces in Judea and
      Samaria, dated October 2, 2003. It is an
      "Announcement of the closure of territory." In
      it, Kaplinski declares the closure of the seam
      zone; and the seam zone is "all of the
      territory that is bounded by the obstacle,
      which is marked on the (enclosed) map with a
      red line, in the direction of the State of
      Israel." The obstacle, Kaplinski defines,
      consists of "fences, walls and patrol paths
      that are meant to prevent terror attacks and
      prevent the entry of assailants from Judea and
      Samaria into the State of Israel."

      The meaning of the closure: "A. An individual
      will not enter the seam zone and will not stay
      there; B. An individual found in the seam zone
      will have to leave it immediately." This
      prohibition does not apply to: "1: An Israeli;
      2: Anyone who has received a permit ... to
      enter the seam zone and stay there ... "
      Kaplinski also defines `Israeli': "A. A citizen
      of Israel; B. A resident of Israel who is
      listed in the Population Registry of Israel; C.
      Anyone entitled to immigrate to Israel
      according to the Law of Return."

      The non-Israelis for whom this announcement of
      closure of territory does not apply are defined
      as "long-term residents." The order clarifies:
      "A. An individual who is 16 years of age or
      more, whose long-term place of residence ... is
      in the seam zone, will be permitted to enter
      the seam zone and stay there, so long as he
      bears a permit in writing issued by myself or
      by someone acting for me, which states that his
      long-term place of residence is in the seam
      zone; B/1. An individual below 16 years of age,
      whose place of residence is in the seam zone,
      will be permitted to stay in the seam zone
      without a written permit ... B/2. An individual
      below 16 years of age, whose long-term place of
      residence is in the seam zone, will be
      permitted to enter the seam zone in one of the
      following ways: if he has in his possession a
      written permit, only in the event that he is 12
      years old or more; if he is accompanied by an
      individual whose entry is permitted; or in any
      other way determined by myself or someone
      acting on my behalf."

      At this point, Kaplinski authorizes the head of
      the civil administration to normalize their
      stay in the seam zone, and the entry and exit
      of non-Israelis (or those to whom the Law of
      Return does not apply).

      The other three forms, which Palestinian
      residents discovered five days ago, are signed
      by Brigadier General Ilan Paz, the head of the
      civil administration, and are dated October 7,
      2003. The first describes how the long-term
      residents are supposed to receive the
      "long-term resident permit." They must
      personally and directly submit the application
      to the "authorized authority" - which is the
      "Israeli Civil Coordination and Liaison Office"
      (the same section of the civil administration
      that was defined by the Oslo Accords for the
      purpose of coordinating with representatives of
      the Palestinian Authority, such that private
      individuals would not do so directly).

      The ICCLO would immediately - or in the event of
      an initial rejection - submit the request for
      examination by a special committee that will be
      set up for this purpose (which would request
      additional documents or hear the arguments of
      the applicant). The "authorized authority" is
      also authorized to renew a long-term resident
      permit - or not renew it, and to recognize a
      new long-term resident - or not recognize him.
      The permit would be issued to any individual
      (who is recognized as a long-term resident)
      from age 12 and above.

      Detailed forms

      The second form to which Paz is signed
      determines that in addition to the long-term
      resident permit, each resident of the seam zone
      must carry a personal passage permit for the
      purpose of entering and exiting the zone.
      Anyone who wishes to bring in a motor vehicle
      must fill out a special application -
      "application of long-term resident for passage
      with vehicle." And there is also the
      "application of long-term resident for bringing
      a new motor vehicle into the seam zone."
      Entering and exiting would be through the
      transfer point cited in the personal permit,
      upon presentation of the permit.

      In the third form, Paz describes the way in
      which Palestinians who are not long-term
      residents of the seam zone can enter the seam
      zone. The directive delineates 12 categories of
      potential applicants for entry permits: owner
      of a business in the seam zone; merchant;
      employee; farmer; teacher; student; employee of
      the Palestinian Authority; visitor; employee of
      an international organization; employee of a
      local authority or infrastructure company;
      member of a medical team; and "all other
      objectives." Correspondingly, 12 forms for
      applying for the appropriate permit are
      enclosed. A photograph must be affixed to the
      application, and all pertinent details must be
      filled in.

      A school principal who submits the application
      for a teacher's entry permit must note, aside
      from the name and address of the school, the
      classroom, institution that certified the
      teacher, serial number of teaching certificate
      and the date and place of issue. A visitor must
      note the name and other personal details of the
      long-term resident who is hosting him; the
      farmer has to list details of the land he is
      farming: whether they are village lands, number
      of section and sub-section, type of crop grown.
      A merchant has to note the type of commerce,
      the commercial license, who issued it and
      where. If the applicants want to stay overnight
      in the seam zone, they have to submit a request
      for overnight stay, and note the details of his
      host. Applicants must explain why they want to
      pass through a certain "control point" and why
      they wish to stay overnight in the seam zone.
      They must submit a series of supporting
      documents.

      Each application will be examined by a special
      officer in the civil administration: the head
      of the economic section will appraise
      applications from tradesmen, employees and
      farmers; the staff education officer will
      examine requests from teachers and students;
      the staff health officer will consider
      applications by member of medical crews.

      The directives do not delineate the period of
      validity of the various permits, whether it is
      for one year, one month, or for each individual
      exit or entry. There is nothing in the wording
      of the directives to indicate how long the
      process of issuing the permits may continue or
      whether the civil administration and its army
      of officials will be committed to a clear
      timetable that is not merely a source of
      aggravation of the applicants. One may assume
      that as per the usual practice of the civil
      administration, the committees that consider
      the applications will be composed solely of
      Israelis - soldiers and civil administration
      officials (including residents of the
      settlements) - without any Palestinian
      representation.

      The new orders are valid from the day they were
      signed, namely from October 2 and 7 (they
      reached the Palestinians on October 9 and 10).
      But the various permit-issuing procedures have
      not yet begun. ICCLO offices are now closed to
      the public (due to the suicide bombing attack
      on the ICCLO in Tul Karm on October 9). In
      addition, since the terrorist attack in Haifa
      on October 4, an especially rigid internal
      closure has been imposed on the Palestinians.
      The passage of individuals from village to
      city, and from village to neighboring village,
      has been prohibited.

      But that is not what is bothering the residents
      of the seam zone: They are now considering how
      to oppose the new category that has been
      coerced on them, and the new regime of special
      permits. In the meantime, based on the new
      directives, thousands of Palestinians are
      essentially illegally residing in their homes
      and on their land, "between the obstacle and
      the State of Israel." And Israeli soldiers have
      full rights to throw them out without delay.

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