Dubai: Israel on Sunday announced an order that will allow the deportation or imprisonment of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank.
The order, which was posted on the military prosecutor's website and said to take effect on Tuesday, stipulates that anyone caught living in the West Bank without an Israeli permit could face speedy expulsion or up to seven years in prison.
No comment from the military was available. However, the announcement sparked a series of appeals from human rights organisations to revoke it, saying the order was so vague that it could include virtually all Palestinians in the West Bank.
"The new order says that anyone who doesn't have written permission from the Israeli military commander will be considered an infiltrator," Shawan Jabareen, head of the West Bank-based Palestinian rights group Al Haq, said. "The orders don't exclude anybody," he told Gulf News.
However, when it comes to implementation, the new rule could affect some categories more than others, Jabareen said. "It will mainly affect up to 8,000 Gazans working in the West Bank with the Strip mentioned as their address in their IDs. The Israelis have refused to update the addresses since 2001."
Other segments include tens of thousands of Palestinians who used to live abroad and moved in with the Palestinian National Authority establishment, foreigners arriving to support to the Palestinians, Arabs in occupied Jerusalem and even the Palestinians who have Israeli identity papers, human rights activists said.
Ten Israeli human rights groups urged Defence Minister Ehud Barak to rescind the order, which "will turn all residents of the West Bank into criminals who may be imprisoned for up to seven years or deported from the area," according to the website of the Israeli non-governmental organisation of HaMoked that is leading the campaign.