In February 2022, Israel, the occupying Power, published a new set of discriminatory, restrictive, and arbitrary rules on foreigners’ entry and stay in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, titled “Procedure for Entry and Residence for Foreigners in Judea and Samaria Area.” The new illegal measures, contained in a 90-page document, were then amended on September 4, which will enter into force on October 20, 2022, and will go through a so-called “pilot period.”
In violation of international law, these unlawful measures consider the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to be part of Israel, and specifically target the Palestinian people, visitors of Palestinian descent, and foreigners wishing to visit Palestine.
None of the measures contained in this illegal directive apply to foreigners visiting illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The illegal measures further complicate and formalize written and unwritten entry restrictions for foreigners who wish to travel, conduct business, work or volunteer in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, or study or teach in Palestinian educational institutions.
Israel, the occupying power, has no sovereignty, jurisdiction nor the legal right to impose its illegal laws on Palestinians or any part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem. In accordance with international law and relevant United Nations resolutions, such sovereignty belongs solely to the Palestinian people the representative of the State of Palestine.
Israel, the occupying Power, adopts a set of illegal policies which clearly intends to continue its illegal belligerent occupation of the Palestinian Territory indefinitely and entrench its de facto annexation and sought de jure annexation.
Arbitrary entry restrictions, which constitute a clear violation of intonational, limit the Palestinian people’s basic rights and freedoms to travel, work, and study, in addition to the right to residence and freedom of movement, which are inter-linked with other fundamental human rights, namely, the right to self-determination
Israel, the occupying Power, is violating peremptory norms of international law, including the basic rules of international humanitarian law, the prohibition of racial discrimination, and the right to self- determination.
Israel’s restrictions on access to the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, goes beyond what is permitted by international humanitarian law and human rights law. Israel, the occupying power, continues to have obligations under the law of occupation in the OPT as an occupying power and cannot enjoy any sovereign rights.
Israel’s new illegal entry measures violate Article 7(2)(g) of the Rome Statute, which involves “the intentional and severe deprivation of fundamental rights…by reason of the identity of the group,“ including racial, national, or ethnic grounds.
UN special rapporteurs and staff affected by the procedure:
On the 30th of August 2022, Israel refused to issue or renew visas for UN Human Rights staff in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Israel’s treatment of the UN staff is part of a wider and worrying trend to block human rights access to the occupied Palestinian territory.
Michele Bachelet, then UN Human Rights Commissioner, said on 30th August 2022 “Israel’s refusal to issue or renew visas for UN Human Rights staff in the occupied Palestinian territory will not prevent the Office from continuing to monitor and report on the human rights situation on the ground…In 2020, the 15 international staff of my Office in Palestine – which has been operating in the country for 26 years – had no choice but to leave,” said Bachelet. “Subsequent requests for visas and visa renewals have gone unanswered for two years. During this time, I have tried to find a solution to this situation, but Israel continues to refuse to engage.”
UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese said “This Special Rapporteur is not the only UN human rights mandate prevented from accessing the occupied Palestinian territory. OHCHR staff have been denied visas for 2 years.”
These unlawful directives are unacceptable measures of racial, political and socio-economic persecution. We call on the international community to put pressure on the Israeli occupation to revoke these measures and consider retaliatory measures.