The Israeli occupation has been imposing a suffocating siege on the Gaza strip since 2006, which isolates the coastal enclave from the Occupied Palestinian Territories OPT as well as the world around. Moreover, the Israeli occupation exploits the Palestinians’ needs and humanitarian conditions to dedicate Israeli racist policy so they give up their legitimate rights. Israeli Stability Document
The Israeli occupation adopts an apartheid system for issuing permits to Palestinians from the occupied West Bank who live in the besieged Gaza Strip, as this system is used to forcibly transfer protected residents, noting that the main victims are Palestinian women.
The so called “Residence document” system consists of a single sheet written in Arabic, in legal language, but in a vague and manipulative style that is difficult to understand, and it obligates the Palestinian signatories to waive the right to live in the occupied West Bank.
It is a ratification by a Palestinian person to the Israeli authorities that he/she wants to enter the Gaza Strip without leaving it permanently towards the Palestinian or “Israeli territories.”
It also allows the Israeli occupation to refuse to permit him to enter these areas. In addition, the Israeli governorate of Tel Aviv can change his/her place of residence if he/she is a resident of the West Bank to Gaza without notifying him/her, and without adding that to the national card.
The Israeli occupation began implementing the Residence Document inside Gaza in 2009, but it stopped or reduced it in recent years. Since the beginning of 2020, it has returned to apply this policy again.
The Israeli occupation usually presents this document to all Palestinians registered in the national card that they are residents of the West Bank and want to enter the Strip, and it includes those who were born in Gaza and moved to live in the West Bank.
It also includes women living in Palestinian cities who are married to men from Gaza or vice versa, as well as freed Palestinian detainees and deportees to the Gaza Strip.
According to a report issued by Gisha-Maslak, the document stipulates that Palestinian residents of the West Bank who have moved to the Gaza Strip can submit requests for an exit permit for humanitarian purposes only if they renounce their right of residence in the West Bank in the future.
The way the Israeli occupation uses this system as a justification for banning the return of Palestinians to live in the West Bank is practically a forcible transfer and a serious violation of international law, which amounts to a war crime.
This system, amended in November 2020, is part of Israeli policies over the years that aim to separate Gaza from the West Bank and serve void demographic and political goals.
So Far, the Israeli occupation practically controls the Palestinian population registry, which determines whether the Palestinians are registered in it as residents of the West Bank or Gaza. The place of residence in the population registry determines where Palestinians can reside, obtain an education, earn a living, and establish a family, and defines the conditions under which they can move between the West Bank, Gaza, and abroad.
Meanwhile, the Israeli occupation authorities allow Palestinian spouses, one of whom is registered as a resident of Gaza and the other as a resident of the West Bank, to practice family life in the Gaza Strip only. Since women are the ones who, in many cases, move to live near their husband’s families after marriage, they are the main victims of this system.
According to Gisha-Maslak, in the cases that Palestinian women do not sign the Stability Document, the Israeli occupation exploits their basic need to visit the West Bank (within the narrow humanitarian conditions determined by the occupation to receive the permit), to force them to sign the document.
In many cases, women are forced to sign the form under pressure and intimidation, as their signature is presented as a condition for crossing, whether for visiting their families in the West Bank or returning to their home and family in Gaza.
Under this oppressive regime, those who refuse to sign the Residence Document are prevented from leaving through the Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing for any purpose.
According to international law, the residents of the West Bank have a protected right to return to their homes and lands in the West Bank, and it is clearly forbidden to force them to give up this legal right.
According to Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the forcible transfer and deportation of residents against their will are prohibited:
“Individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the Occupying Power or to that of any other country, occupied or not, are prohibited, regardless of their motive.”
Article 3(1) of the 1963 Protocol 4 to the European Convention on Human Rights provides:
“No one shall be expelled, by means either of an individual or of a collective measure, from the territory of the State of which he is a national.”
Article 6 of the 1945 IMT Charter (Nuremberg) provides that the forcible transfer and deportation, or any of them, are “War crimes” and “Crimes against humanity”.
Based on what has been mentioned, the Israeli occupation’s use of this brutal and coercive policy against the Palestinian citizens to force them to give up their basic rights is a systematic apartheid system. The occupation exploits its control over the movements of the Palestinians to create a new political status that indirectly serves its colonial interests in the region in a manipulative manner, violating all international humanitarian laws and norms. Accordingly, the Israeli occupation practices the system of apartheid and crimes against humanity by using this policy, which requires a firm international stance to stop all Israeli racist violations against the Palestinian people and end the occupation of Palestine once and for all.
It’s noteworthy that such Israeli projects aim at dedicating the racist practices against the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian territories which have been highlighted since the new Israeli Far-Right government had taken the office. The Israeli racist government includes several fanatic Israeli figures who have black records of crimes and corruption such as Itmar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.
The Israeli fanatic ministers keep escalating the violence in the OPT by supporting the settlement construction, demolition of Palestinian homes, and enacting more repressive laws against the Palestinian people.