- Background on PA-only Visa
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- Download PA Only Visa – Action, Background & Talking Points
Over the past several months, Israel has introduced several new measures at its border crossings. These measures have dangerous legal implications as well as serious repercussions for those wishing to travel to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
A recent United States State Department travel advisory published on the website of the Consulate General of the United States of America in Jerusalem alerts its citizens: Israeli border officials at both the Allenby border crossing and Ben Gurion Airport have begun using a new entry visa stamp that permits travel only in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas.
Those who have received the stamp are mainly citizens of countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel, from Europe and the United States, and are mainly of Palestinian and Arab descent, many of whom who have family in the (oPt).
In addition, some travelers have been required to sign a statement which commits them to not entering the Palestinian Authority controlled areas of the West Bank under penalty of legal action. Furthermore, the Right to Enter Campaign has learned of incidents in which foreign nationals from countries without visa agreements with Israel who are required to apply for visas prior to their arrival at Israeli borders have been issued “Israel only” visas.
These latest measures are yet another example of Israel’s numerous policies and practices that aim to further entrench the unlawful fragmentation and annexation of parts of the occupied territory, are in violation of international law and threaten to undermine the prospects for peace and a just resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, strong objections have been raised regarding the discriminatory nature of these measures.
The US State Department has criticised “PA only visa” as unfair and unacceptable, stating: “We have let the Government of Israel know that these restrictions unfairly impact Palestinian and Arab American travellers and are not acceptable.” The new measures have also been criticised by leaders within the Government of Israel. Israeli Ministry of Tourism issued a statement saying: “This decision taken by the interior ministry causes significant damage to Israel’s image and to incoming tourism for those tourists who visit the holy sites in the Palestinian Authority,” the tourism ministry said in a statement. And the Israeli Foreign Ministry claims it does not support the new visa. “It is unclear what good it is and how it can be enforced” a Foreign Ministry official told the press. “All it does is damage Israel’s image in its foreign relations,” the official added.
When enacted, these measures force visitors to choose between entering Israel or the occupied Palestinian territory. Millions of tourists and religious pilgrims flock to Middle East holy sites each year; these measures require them to choose between visiting Bethlehem and Nazareth, for example.. (For more on the implications of the new measures see RTE’s “Talking points on the new ‘PA only’ visa.”)
Since early 2006, the Right to Enter Campaign has been calling for an end to Israel’s arbitrary and abusive exercise of discretion over entry in to and movement within the oPt. These new restrictions further contribute to the serious and unjustified harm to Palestinian families, education, religious and social service institutions and businesses and investments.
You can take these actions whether or not you have received this stamp. Better to act now before this too is allowed to become an established, “normalised” procedure.
- Call and write your Consulate and Embassy representatives in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and government representatives in your home country to express your concern about the implications of this visa and other Israeli measures to restrict travel to/from and within the occupied Palestinian territory. Emphasise the need to obtain clear assurances from Israel that persons carrying foreign passports will not be arbitrarily denied safe and secure passage to the oPt and that all foreign citizens seeking entry into the oPT and Israel will be treated without discrimination and with dignity and respect. Be prepared for them to tell you they can do nothing. Insist on answers, assistance and redress. Don’t accept the argument that they are powerless. (See Contacts below.)
- Call and write US Special Envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell and representatives of the Quartet to express your concern about the implications of this visa and other Israeli measures to restrict travel to/from and within the occupied Palestinian territory. (Contacts below.)
- Inquire with relevant Israeli and Palestinian Authorities regarding procedures for traveling to/from and within the occupied Palestinian territory. Insist on answers, assistance and redress. (Contacts below.)
- Write a letter to the editor or OpEd piece for your local newspaper explaining how Israeli restrictions are affecting you and the implications of Israeli restrictions on travel to/from and within the oPt.
- Report incidents of “PA only” visa and all incidents of entry denial to the Right to Enter Campaign and contribute to the Campaign’s efforts to document and defeat Israel’s unlawful policy of restricting entry into the oPt. Updated and reliable information about how entry denials (whether recent or past) continue to affect individuals, families and the general welfare of the Palestinian people in the oPt is essential to effectively combat Israel’s policies. Even if you wish to keep your information confidential, it helps the Campaign to have documentation and statistics to establish trends and report impact. If you’ve attempted / been successful in returning, let us know. If you haven’t tried, let us know why and under what conditions you might try to return.
- All incidents please report to your respective consulate and government representatives.
- Right to Enter email: email@example.com / Telephone: ++970-(0)59.817.3953
- Staff of humanitarian organisations should also report any restrictions on movement in Israel and/or the oPt to the UN Access Cell: 054-3311850 (round-the-clock, 7 days a week).
- US citizens are also encouraged to report to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee For questions or assistance in taking action, please also contact Fahed Al-Rawaf from ADC at 202.244.2990, Christina Zola from AAI at 202.429.9210, or Ghaith Al-Omari from ATFP at 202.887.0177.
Diplomatic and government representatives
Office of the Quartet Representative
Tel: +972 (0)2 633 3302
Mobile: +972 546773143
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org (Awad Duaibes, Political and press officer)
Consul General Jake Walles
Email: JerusalemACS@state.gov; UsConGenJerusalem@state.gov
Fax: 02-627-2233 /
Telephone: 02-622-7221 or 02-622-7207
(please leave a detailed message on the voicemail if there is no answer)
Congressional representatives in the US
House and Senate can be found at: www.house.gov/writerep/ http://senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
British citizens Consul General Richard Makepeace
Email: email@example.com / Fax: +972 (0)2 5414157
Should be able to get contacts for their relevant diplomatic representatives on line.
If you have any trouble send an inquiry to the myrtoe (my right to enter) yahoo group or firstname.lastname@example.org
Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Spokesperson – Guy Inber:
Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs ‘ International and Organisational Cooperation, Dean Liebovitz,
Ministry of Civil Administration: Tel: 972-(0)2-997-7727
Minister of Interior: Tel: 972-(0)2-670-1411
Ministry of Defense: Tel: 972-(0)2-5303111; Fax: 972-(0)2-5303367, email@example.com
PA Interior Ministry, Hassan Alwi ‘ General Director, 970-(0)599-255511
PA Ministry of Civil Affairs, Ayman Qandil, 970-(0)599-222224