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Israel to delay implementing restrictions on foreigners entering the West Bank amid pushback

Illustrative: Palestinian women cross the Qalandiya checkpoint, outside of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on April 15, 2022. (Flash90)
Illustrative: Palestinian women cross the Qalandiya checkpoint, outside of the West Bank city of Ramallah, on April 15, 2022. (Flash90)

The Israeli government will delay implementing new restrictions on foreigners’ entry into Palestinian areas of the West Bank until September 5 so that authorities can reconsider their position, according to court filings.

The restrictions sparked outcry among rights groups and European diplomats, who slammed the new policy’s tightened quotas for lecturers at Palestinian universities and strict rules on foreign spouses receiving visas.

In court filings, Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians argued that the new policy expanded the “range of permitted purposes for entering the area.” But it added that parts were already being re-examined in response to concerns raised by rights groups in their petition.

“The policy regularized, for the first time, a whole range of issues which had been left out of prior procedures,” government attorneys told the court.

The HaMoked rights group, which petitioned the High Court to strike down the procedure, hailed the delay as a step forward.

“But it’s not enough to postpone. The whole procedure has to be abandoned. Israel can deny individuals visas on specific security grounds, but it should not be micromanaging Palestinian society,” Montell says.

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