GENEVA, Sunday, March 28, 2021 (WAFA) – Thousands of Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip have been deprived of identity documents and consequently several basic rights, most notably the right to freedom of movement, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said in a new report released today.
According to the report, titled the Gaza Strip: Undocumented Citizens, those without identity cards in Gaza entered the Strip either before 2000 with Israeli-issued temporary visitor permits, or after 2000 during the periods when the border wall between Egypt and Gaza was breached or through the underground tunnels that linked Egypt and Gaza before 2014.
The report reviews the difficulties faced by those without IDs as many of them lost their lives from chronic and serious diseases after being denied travel for treatment outside Palestine. In terms of study and work abroad, undocumented persons cannot travel for education or work as they cannot obtain a passport. Likewise, they cannot meet their families if they live abroad which means denying many families from being united.
The report points out that this problem gets even worse when combined with the continuing official impotence towards solving this humanitarian issue, especially since it has been stagnant for many years.
Euro-Med Monitor team interviewed Zahra Abu Alwan, 68, one of the people who left the Gaza Strip before the Israeli occupation of the Strip in 1967. She and her husband had left Gaza for work after they returned to Gaza in 2000.
She said: "My husband had suffered diabetes for more than 30 years, and symptoms of this disease started to appear on him dramatically. After several tests, doctors told us that his leg must be amputated and only if he was transferred abroad his condition might be treated. We tried again and again to transfer him for treatment abroad, but to no avail, because he had no ID card."
"Unfortunately, we didn’t have much time, and my husband's foot was amputated. Although, my husband's condition worsened, and we tried in every possible way to save his life; but not having an identity card had stood in the way. His condition had become dangerous, and we still couldn’t transfer him for treatment abroad, which led to his death.”
Euro-Med Monitor's spokeswoman in Palestine, Nada Nabil, said that "Israel, as an occupying power, is obligated to respect international law in all its dealings with the Palestinian population and end its policy of refusing to grant them identity cards, which affects the demographic composition in Gaza and robs its citizens their basic and untouchable rights."
The report says that the Israeli occupation authorities should abolish arbitrary restrictions on Palestinian citizens' right to reside in Gaza, end the freeze on family unification applications, and begin processing them in a way that enables citizens to obtain identity cards.