Israel suppresses Palestinians by banning travel

60-year-old Palestinian political activist Farhat Asaad could not travel outside the occupied West Bank. Since 1991, by the decision of the occupying Israeli army, based on a secret file, he has been banned from traveling, which has been the reason for the seven administrative bans he has suffered without charges or trial.
Assad’s situation is no different from that of tens of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank. The Hurriyat Center for the Protection of Civil Liberties and Rights has documented nearly 8,500 cases and is still documenting them. However, the problem of freedom of movement, movement and travel is not limited to these people; Restrictions on movement, whether within the West Bank, between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, or between them and occupied Jerusalem, is the biggest problem suffering Palestinians in all their settlements, which was discussed by “Freedom of Movement, Movement and Travel ”conference organized by the Center for the Protection of Civil Liberties and Rights in Ramallah the day before yesterday.
Asaad attended the conference as he is interested in the dossier and one of the victims of that Israeli policy, noting that since 2019 he has pursued the issue of his travel ban and has been prevented from obtaining a permit to reach Al-Makassed. Hospital in occupied Jerusalem to perform a lung biopsy and he was also prevented from traveling for the same purpose.He later performed Hajj, which prompted him to advance through human rights organizations in an attempt to remove travel ban.
Assad told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that he had not only been prevented from traveling, but all his children except his daughter. The reason is the secret file, although the last time he was arrested was in 2010 and the occupation court asked the Israeli intelligence service at the time to find out what Assad was accused of, to be released later.
The travel ban for Assad’s sons was lifted only three years ago and they were not banned for their political activity but for their father’s activity. Assad explains that he went through the Hurriat Center to file a petition for the lifting of the ban and the occupation refused, on the grounds that he had contacts with the Hamas leadership and that his trip could make him resume his political activity, adding: “If I wanted to renew the activity and contacts with which he was accused, I would do it from within, the only issue is to create excuses.”

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Assad underwent extortion when he had to travel for medical treatment after one of the occupation officers said by phone that he attended the funeral of a martyr. not to attend that funeral, then the intelligence officer asked Assad to inform him by phone before attending any conference. it was an attempt to humiliate and insult him and an attempt to blackmail and bargain with the Palestinians, noting that the issue was not limited to him but to most of the released prisoners, as well as an attempt to blackmail the workers. . medical students in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in 1948.
The director of the Center for the Protection of Civil Liberties and Rights Helmy Al-Araj told Al-Araby Al-Jadeed that “the center has so far documented 8,500 male and female citizens who have been prevented from traveling”, but confirmed that estimates show that there are tens of thousands of people banned from traveling, referring to efforts to reach a larger number of them, in order to move their cause more vigorously, especially internationally, and to transform the individual issue into a national issue with an international issue. dimension, adding: “Because we understand that without moving and international pressure on the occupation and condemning this policy that flagrantly violates human rights, the occupation will not change it.

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From the symposium (The New Arab)

From the symposium (The New Arab)

Legal avenues in the travel ban file appear to be limited despite the successes. According to Al-Araj, the center makes about 60 decisions to lift the travel ban for Palestinians, after tough efforts and after reaching the Israeli Central Court.
However, the number seems small, despite its legal significance, given the presence of tens of thousands of people banned from traveling. The common denominator for those allowed to travel, after suffering, is the presence of unfounded security pretexts, and sometimes, according to Al-Araj, files are abandoned or forgotten and it is discovered that there is no real reason for this. stop.
This can be explained, according to Al-Araj, by knowing the objectives of the travel ban, which are tightening the noose around the Palestinians and exercising collective punishments against them. Sometimes, the goals may be to extort security, pressure, impose sanctions or terrorize people so that they do not think of resisting the occupation, or simply talk about the necessity of leaving the occupation, emphasizing that the number of persons stop traveling is. growing.

Israeli Occupation Forces (Hazem Badir / AFP)

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The challenges seem to be more than just a travel ban, as the past years have witnessed tremendous developments in policies that prevent foreigners from entering Palestine, especially academics. Human rights centers also see attacks by the occupying army and settlers as part of challenges that impede the right to free movement, whether within the West Bank or Jerusalem.
Regarding the Gaza Strip, the director of the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Issam Younes, says that the Gaza Strip is closed to itself, living its internal concerns, siege and restrictions on freedom of movement; Military Order Number One of 1967 declared that the Gaza Strip area is a military area from which you are not allowed to leave or enter, and this situation continued until 1969, when it changed under the pressure of the need of the Israeli labor market. for work, so the occupying authorities gave the people of the Gaza Strip the general approval to enter the Israeli areas with special permission and the occupying authorities restricted movement from the Gaza Strip to the extent that the restriction became the general rule and permission of movement and travel outside Gaza. Stripping to be the exception and through complicated procedures, even for those in need of treatment.

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