Jerusalem residents concerned Israel is changing their residency rights – Arabnews

AMMAN: Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, as well as Syrian residents of the occupied Golan Heights, are complaining that they are facing unprecedented discrimination when traveling home to Israel due to the fact that they dont have Israeli citizenship.

Residents of occupied Jerusalem and the Golan, which were annexed by Israel in 1967 and 1981, have complained that they are being denied the right to board planes to return home without an special ishur (permit).

They have been told that this permit has to be obtained from Israeli embassies or the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Munir Nuseibah, director of the Community Action Center at Al-Quds University, confirmed the problem and told Arab News that complaints were coming in to the center about Jerusalemites running into problems at airports.

The complaints are very worrisome. It is scary to learn of new Israeli procedures that change what we have been used to for decades.

Khader Abu Alia, an English language teacher at Al-Quds University, told his colleagues at the university that he was barred from entering the country.

He sent a message to members of the Israeli Knesset saying he had needed to travel in mid-March to the US, and that when he boarded the return flight on April 14 he was told that he was not allowed in upon arriving at Ben Gurion Airport passport control, because he didnt have an Israeli passport.

Students trying to board an Israel Airlines flight from Moscow on April 24 were barred and told that only individuals holding Israeli passports would be allowed to travel to Israel.

The problem was later resolved and the students were allowed to travel.

Another problem occurred when students, including from Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, tried and failed to board a plane from Turkey to Israel, and needed the intervention of Arab members of the Knesset before they were allowed to travel back home.

Nuseibah told Arab News that it was unclear if there were any new regulations or if this problem was as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, or if the virus was being used as a cover to pass-through new discriminatory laws.

We have prepared legal action to challenge this new regulation but decided to hold off on this until we find out whether the problems that have been faced by returning Jerusalemites is a one-off bureaucratic problem or a new policy change.

Nuseibah told Arab News that they had contacted Ahmad Tibi, the Israeli Arab member of the Knesset, who reassured him that there had been no change in policy.

We will continue to monitor the situation and check with the Ministry of Interior and the Foreign Ministry before deciding whether there is indeed policy change or not.

If we reach the conclusion that there is a policy change, we will go ahead with the lawsuit that the new policy is a discriminatory one.

Nuseibah concluded that Jerusalemites did not go to Israel but Israel came to Jerusalem and therefore the people of the city have a right to travel and return without any discriminatory regulations.

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Jerusalem residents concerned Israel is changing their residency rights - Arabnews

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