RAMALLAH, Tuesday, October 19, 2021 (WAFA) – The Civil Affairs Ministry today confirmed that it has obtained Israel’s approval to legalize the status of 4,000 unregistered Palestinians.
Head of the Civil Affairs Commission Hussein al-Sheikh, who also serves as a member of Fatah Central Committee, announced that the commission has obtained approval for the registration as West Bank residents for 4,000 Palestinians who have been living for years in the occupied territories without official status.
“Today, 4 thousand names will be announced, who have obtained their right to citizenship, they will receive Palestinian identities (#ID), as well as the change of their residential address,” he tweeted.
He said that the move fell in line with the understandings reached with the Israeli side on August 30 while noting that
The move affects 1,200 Palestinians who have been living in the occupied West Bank without being registered or documented in the Palestinian Population Registry, including unregistered spouses and children over 16 years of West Bank residents.
It also affects 2,800 Palestinians who were born in the Gaza Strip and changed their places of residence to the West Bank.
Al-Sheikh added that the commission’s offices will be open as of Wednesday, October 20, to hand the unregistered Palestinians their approval letters, so that each one of them can apply for a Palestinian identity card and passport at the Palestinian Ministry of Interior.
Following the legalization of their status, the unregistered Palestinians will be able to pass through Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank.
According to Human Rights Watch, since 1967, the population registry has been central to Israel’s administrative efforts to control the demographic composition of the occupied Palestinian territory, where Palestinians want to establish a state. Israel has used Palestinians’ residency status as a tool to control their ability to reside in, move within, and travel abroad from the West Bank, as well as to travel from Gaza to Israel and the West Bank. A 2005 survey conducted on behalf of B’Tselem, an Israeli rights group, estimated that 17.2 percent of the Palestinians registered in the West Bank and Gaza, around 640,000 people, had a parent, child, sibling, or spouse whom Israeli military authorities had not registered as a resident.
The human rights organization finds out that Israel’s exclusion of Palestinians from the population registry and the restrictions it imposes on Palestinians who are registered vastly exceed what could be justified under international law as needed to address legitimate security concerns, and have dire consequences for Palestinians’ ability to enjoy such basic rights as the right to family life and access to health care and education facilities.