Israel U-turns on controversial requirement for foreigners — Analysis
Backlash forces the abandonment of the demand to establish a relationship between a Palestinian and West Bank as an entry requirement for West Bank.
After international pressure and backlash from Washington, Israel removed the controversial requirement that foreigners must declare relationships with Palestinians at their borders.
On Sunday, the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli Defense Ministry’s department for Palestinian civil affairs, released an updated version of its guidance on “Procedure for entry and residence of foreigners in the Judea and Samaria area.”
This document doesn’t include many provisions from the February draft which was published. They were to have come into effect on Monday. One piece that has been removed is the requirement that foreigners comply. “forming a couple”A West Bank resident should contact Israeli authorities 30 days after the wedding or engagement. “whichever occurs first.”
The new rulebook does not require foreign spouses of Palestinians to spend half a year outside the West Bank after 27 months of marriage for a “cooling off period,” as was suggested before, and allows the extension of foreigners’ visas from 90 to 180 days.
COGAT also removed quotas on students and visiting lecturers from Palestinian universities. These were originally set at 100 students and 150 teachers. This quota proposal was rejected by the European Union. The Erasmus+ exchange program would be severely impacted.
These new regulations will not apply to tourists visiting Israel or Israeli settlements. They are due to go into effect October 20th for a period of two years.
“At the end of the pilot period, the situation will be evaluated and a decision will be made regarding whether to keep the procedure in force,”The document says so.
US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides acknowledged the revisions, stressing in a statement that he had “Engaged with Israel’s Government on the draft rules” and will continue to do so.
“I continue to have concerns with the published protocols, particularly regarding COGAT’s role in determining whether individuals invited by Palestinian academic institutions are qualified to enter the West Bank, and the potential negative impact on family unity,” Nides said.
He demanded that Israeli officials ensure equal and fair treatment of all visitors to the West Bank.
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