Letter Writing Campaign to protest Israeli Policy of 'entry-denied' _let's hope that many join from around the globe

From: shelly silver (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Dec 10 2006 - 12:32:45 PST


dear all:
in terms of our recent discussions on the situation in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories and Israel, here is an alternative or
additional action for those academics who are interested (quite a bit
to read - see below)
best,
shelly

ICRR

Israeli Committee for Right of Residency

ړݔȘ™ݙ˜™

Tel: 972-9-958-4804

PLEASE DISTRIBUTE WIDELY

In March 2006, the Israeli government initiated a policy of visa
denial to individuals of Palestinian descent having foreign
passports, many of whom Israel has arbitrarily denied residency
rights to in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Many of these
persons have lived in the OPT for years without succeeding to obtain
residency rights even though they made Palestine their primary
residence and place of employment/business, married local
Palestinians, and had children who were born in Palestine.

These people have managed to stay in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory by means of tourist visas issued by the Israeli government.
Such visas are valid for three months. Their holders are obliged to
go abroad to renew them. Those who cannot afford to travel abroad
become illegal sojourners and live in perpetual fear of being
deported, which confines them to their homes. Those who go abroad
have no assurance that they will be allowed to return, and in recent
years the number of people denied reentry has increased
significantly. Indeed, at this time, most persons of Palestinian
origin attempting to transit via Israel in order to return to their
families and occupations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory have
been denied entry. Additionally, just recently 105 passports that
had been submitted for visa extension were returned by the Israeli
authorities with no extension beyond the end of 2006, and all stamped
?last visa,? meaning that there would be no further visa extensions
and that the holders of these passports would be forced to leave.
And only today, December 5, 2006, we learn from the Palestinian
campaign for entry rights, of an escalation in Israeli policy. The
Ministry of Interior now refuses to process visa extensions at all
(see Press Release below). As a result of this ?entry-denied? policy,
families are torn apart, schooling for the children is disrupted, and
economic disasters follow.

Among the entry-denied individuals are professionals from foreign
countries who are not necessarily Palestinian. This group includes
physicians, teachers, professors, students, social workers, and
professionals in a variety of fields filling critically important
positions in hospitals, schools, universities, and social
institutions. Those being forced to leave by being denied entry or
re-entry leave a vacuum in institutions unable to find replacements.
This is devastating for all concerned, and has life-threatening
implications particularly in the field of medical care. On the one
hand, the ability of hospitals in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
to treat Palestinians is constantly diminishing while on the other
hand Israel?s General Security Services (?Shabak?) often denies
access to Israeli hospitals for treatment.

A group of concerned Israeli citizens has organized to protest this
injustice which stands in gross contradiction to Israel?s
self-declared image as a democratic state supportive of human rights
and aspiring to a peaceful resolution of its conflict with the
Palestinian people. We, the members of the Israel Committee for the
Right of Residency, have been calling upon the Israeli public to join
us in demanding that our government desist from denying residency
rights in the Occupied Territories to Palestinians or persons of
Palestinian descent with foreign passports, as well as to foreign
professionals contributing to the welfare of the Palestinian
population. We have been meeting with staffs of foreign embassies in
Israel and have called upon them to use their good offices to
intercede with the Israeli authorities to change the imposed
restrictions. However, embassies do not make policy. They carry
out the policies of their governments.

We therefore call upon you, people of conscience living abroad, to
organize campaigns to inform your officials in your countries about
Israel?s policy of ?entry-denied.? We ask you to write letters
requesting them to demand that Israel change its policy. We also ask
Israelis and citizens of other countries to write letters of protest
to the Israeli Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, and for
those of you who are academics or are in the medical profession to
additionally write to the Minister of Education and Minister of
Health. A statement of your professional concern in your protests
should give your letters additional weight (see the two requests
below). This is not intended to be a restriction. Everyone may
write to all 4 Ministers, as well as to anyone else whom you think
might influence policy.

--------

An appeal to Academics

As an academic and a member of ICRR, I am particularly concerned
about the damage this policy is inflicting on the education system of
Palestinians in the OPT. I am therefore writing to ask you to also
write letters to the Israeli Minister of Education, Prof. Yuli Tamir,
in order to protest the effects this policy has on quenching academic
life and education for Palestinians in Palestine.

Thanks,

Rachel Giora

and all other members of ICRR who are academic

-----------

PS Below is the Press Release about the new escalation in Israeli
policy, followed by links to additional information about the issue,
contact information for the Israeli Prime Minister, Minister Of
Interior, Minister of Education, and Minister of Health, and contact
information also for members of the US congress. These are followed
by a draft letter that you can use or modify as needed to send to
officials. You are, of course, welcome to write your own, if you
prefer. But please do write!

---------------------

Thank you for helping to Stop the Israeli Government from Denying
Individuals of Palestinian Descent and others from entering and
residing in the Occupied Palestinian Territory,

The Israeli Committee for Residency Rights

----------------------

Press Release

C a m p a i g n f o r t h e R i g h t o f E n t r y / R e - E n t r y
to t h e O c c u p i e d P a l e s t i n i a n T e r r i t o r y

(o Pt)

A Grassroots Campaign for the Protection of Foreign Passport Holders
Residing in and/or visiting the oPt

Telephone: +970.(0)59.817.3953 Facsimile: +970.2.295.4903

Website: www.RightToEnter.ps Email: (address suppressed)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 5, 2006

Contact: Basil Ayish Coordinator, Media Committee

(c) +970-(0)59-817-3953 (email) (address suppressed)

In a new escalation of Israel?s policy of denying Palestinians and
their families access to the Israeli occupied Palestinian territory
(oPt), the Israeli Civil Administration at Beit El is refusing to
accept at least 140 passports for visa extensions. The passport
holders are mostly spouses and children of Palestinian I.D.-holders
and are residing in the oPt. Many of them have been forced to become
?illegal? since their visitor visas have expired while waiting to be
renewed by Israel.

Twenty-seven year old Subha G is one of these cases. Her mother,
brothers and her husband all have Palestinian ID?s, but her request
for family reunification has been frozen since 1997. ?I am seven
months pregnant and I am afraid of leaving to renew my visa and
becoming stranded outside the country. My whole family is here.?
Subha said.

Palestinian I.D.s can only be issued by Israel. Since Israel is
refusing to process an estimated 120,000 family unification residency
applications of spouses and children of Palestinians, foreign family
members must renew their visa every three months.

All foreign spouses and children of Palestinians who requested visa
extensions in October had their passports returned from Beit El on
November 19th stamped ?Last permit.? The passport holders are
required to leave the country before their visas expire, which in
some cases occurred during Israel?s processing of the visa extension
application. Israeli authorities are regularly denying entry to
family members of Palestinians when they attempt to cross the Israeli
controlled borders to the Israeli oPt.

Soha N., French citizen, lives in Beit Jala with her Palestinian
husband and their two children, ages six and eight years old. The
Israeli authorities refuse to issue residency to Soha and her
children. Therefore, they have been renewing their visas every three
months. After applying in October for another visa extension, they
received their passports back marked ?last permit.? Soha?s final
extension lasts until December 25th. Israeli authorities required her
two children to leave by December 4th. The family may now be forced
to relocate abroad, as their children are now considered ?illegal?
after overstaying their visas.

Shlomo Dror, spokesperson for the Israeli Civil Administration states
that those foreign passport holders with family in the oPt who stay
illegally in the country, should expect ?tough consequences.?

?Israel is working overtime to create a demographic change in the oPt
by targeting the most vulnerable segment of Palestinian society,
denying them residency and forcing them to leave,? said Basil Ayish,
a spokesperson from the Campaign for the Right of Entry/Re-Entry to
the oPt. ?Palestinian residency holders are likely to follow their
spouses and children to another country in order to stay together,?
Ayish explained.

==========================

Links

For a full report on the subject, see
<http://www.btselem.org/Download/200607_Perpetual_Limbo_Eng.doc>http://www.btselem.org/Download/200607_Perpetual_Limbo_Eng.doc

For supplementary information about the present situation see

<http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0611120452nov12,1,6508718.story?page=2&coll=chi-news-hed>http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/chi-0611120452nov12,1,6508718.story?page=2&coll=chi-news-hed

<http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=778942&contrassID=2&subContrassID=4&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y>http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?itemNo=778942&contrassID=2&subContrassID=4&sbSubContrassID=0&listSrc=Y

<http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/art.php?aid=41413>http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/php/art.php?aid=41413

---------------------------------------------

Addresses of Israeli Officials to whom protest letters should be sent:

Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert: Telephone numbers:

972-2-67 53227; 972-2-67 53547;

fax 972-2-566 4838;

email <mailto:email suppressed or
<mailto:email suppressed

Minister of Interior, Ronnie Bar-on:

fax 972-2-566 6376; email: <mailto:email suppressed

or, if faxing and Minister is not enabled,

ask for Sabine (972-2-6294722 or fax: 972-2-6701628)

Minister of Education, Prof. Yuli Tamir

Tel 972-2-675 3437

Fax 972-2-675 3976

email: <mailto:email suppressed

Minister of Health, Yakov Ben Yizry

Tel 972 2 675 3728

Fax 972 2 678 7662

email: <mailto:email suppressed;

or <mailto:email suppressed

--------------------------

For the US You can find your Representative
<http://www.house.gov/writerep/>http://www.house.gov/writerep/

and your Senators
<http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm>http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

The State Department can be contacted at
<http://contact-us.state.gov/cgi-bin/state.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php?p_sid=cL1kRPni&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPSZwX3NvcnRfYnk9JnBfZ3JpZHNvcnQ9JnBfcm93X2NudD0xMTEmcF9wcm9kcz0mcF9jYXRzPSZwX3B2PSZwX2N2PSZwX3NlYXJjaF90eXBlPWFuc3dlcnMuc2VhcmNoX25sJnBfcGFnZT0x>http://contact-us.state.gov/cgi-bin/state.cfg/php/enduser/ask.php?p_sid=cL1kRPni&p_sp=cF9zcmNoPSZwX3NvcnRfYnk9JnBfZ3JpZHNvcnQ9JnBfcm93X2NudD0xMTEmcF9wcm9kcz0mcF9jYXRzPSZwX3B2PSZwX2N2PSZwX3NlYXJjaF90eXBlPWFuc3dlcnMuc2VhcmNoX25sJnBfcGFnZT0x

or by ringing 202-647-4000

===========================================

Sample Letter:

Dear _______________________,

Israel prides itself on being a democratic country. Yet Israeli
policy denies family unification in the Occupied Palestinian
Territory, and since March 2006 also denies entry to the OPT for
individuals of Palestinian descent, whom Israel refuses to register
as residents as well as also for other foreigners who wish to visit,
work, or study in the OPT. This is not in keeping with democratic
values.

Nor is this policy consistent with Israel?s stated intention to abide
by the Road Map, an intention reiterated by Prime Minister Ehud
Olmert in his speech on November 27 at a memorial ceremony for Paula
and David Ben Gurion. On that occasion Prime Minister Olmert
expressed the intention (given certain conditions) ?to establish an
independent and viable Palestinian State, with territorial contiguity
in Judea and Samaria ? a State with full sovereignty and defined
borders.?
[<http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMOEng/Communication/PMSpeaks/speechdavid271106.htm>http://www.pmo.gov.il/PMOEng/Communication/PMSpeaks/speechdavid271106.htm
]

By denying entry into the OPT to individuals of Palestinian descent
who have been refused residency rights even though many have lived in
the OPT for years and even though they have families, occupations,
and also own property, Israel is forcing these people to leave. But
if indeed there is to be a Palestinian State in the future, then why
drive Palestinians out?

If Israeli officials truly intend to work towards accomplishing the
Road Map by the establishment of a viable Palestinian state with
internationally recognized borders, then Israel must immediately
cease its policy of refusing entry to people?of Palestinian or any
other descent --desiring to visit, work, study, or live in that
future state.

Sincerely,

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