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Palestine_September 12, 2013-35 - Copy - CopySome Facts About the West Bank:

  • CITIZENSHIP: Palestinians in the West Bank are not citizens of any country.  Technically.  By most they are considered an occupied territory, and occasionally recognized as a full-fledged state.  However, since the Palestinian Authority is not recognized as a government, at least according to U.S. State Department[1], then the land cannot be recognized as a state nor the people dwelling there as citizens.
  • PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY PASSPORTS: Most Palestinians have a Palestinian Authority Passport.  To many Palestinians, this indicates nationality as well as travel capabilities.  Though, the travel capabilities are limited due to the ambiguity of the region’s classification.  Restrictions are placed on Palestinians by Israel, it’s occupying force.  Additionally, most other countries require Palestinians to obtain a visa to travel there.  Jordan, Palestine’s former ruling force, is the single exception.
  • JORDANIAN PASSPORTS: Some Palestinians also hold Jordanian passports.  These serve solely as travel documents, not an indication of citizenship for those who live in the West Bank.
  • IDENTITY CARDS: Palestinians also hold Israeli identity cards.  Arab Israelis who live in Jerusalem hold blue identity cards.  Those who live in the West Bank hold green identity cards.  These indicate, as one might presume, residency rather than citizenship.  Basically, these communities of people become residents in the land where they were once citizens… without even moving.
  • GREEN IDENTITY CARDS: If a person holds a green ID card this means that person is only allowed to cross through the big checkpoints going into Jerusalem.  These have machines which detects the type of access into Israel the Palestinian has.  Primarily, what time of day and for how long the person can be in Jerusalem.  For example, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. to 7 or 8 p.m. There are some exceptions, like for clergy.  As one of my friends living in Beit Sahour, a primarily Christian city in the West Bank near Bethlehem, explained, “Mine and some of the clergies have 00:00 – 00:00 (24 hours) but this does not mean that we are allowed to sleep in Israel or drive a car and so on….”
  • MARRIAGE: Up until two years ago a Israeli citizen could marry a non-Israeli citizen and one’s partner would receive Israeli citizenship.  However, as of two years ago the law was changed so residents of the West Bank were exempt.  Therefore, if an Israeli wants to marry someone residing in the West Bank they must give up their Israeli citizenship and move to the West Bank or move to another country.
  • ZONES: The West Bank is divided into three zones: A, B, and C.  According to decisions made in the Oslo II Accord.
  • Zone A is under Palestinian civil and security control with their headquarters in Ramallah (the Tel Aviv of Palestine).
  • Zone B is under Palestinian civil control and Israeli security control.  The problem is, some Israeli settlements have now been built in Zone B, violating the Oslo II Accord.
  • Zone C is under Israeli civil and security control.  Palestinians have access to only 1% of this land saturated in the majority of the region’s natural resources and open spaces.  “Israeli policies in the area have undermined the Palestinian presence there, with a deterioration in basic services such as water supplies, education and shelter. Nearly 70% of the Palestinian villages are not connected to the water network that serves settlers, which accounts for the fact that Palestinians in the zone use only a quarter to a third of the per capita consumption of settlers,” according to a 2013 EU report.  Additionally, The World Bank has stated, granting the Palestinians access to the use of the land would “half their budget deficit and lead to an expansion of their economy by a third.”  Zone C also houses all the (illegal) Israeli settlements, which continue to be built in violation of the Oslo Accords, “which specified in article 31 that neither side would take any step that would change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations. However, Israeli settlement expansion has continued unabated.”

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