The Palestinian Authority (PA) is still trying to impose its grip on the Gaza Strip whenever it has the opportunity. It continues its intransigence towards the Gazans over the issue of denying a number of them obtaining passports, despite what constitutes a grave violation of human rights.
Depriving Gazans of passports touches the core of Palestine’s agreements, particularly those of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The violation constitutes a violation of the Palestinian Basic Law.
The PA punishes citizens for not obtaining documents that enable them to communicate with the outside world and travel, especially supporters of Hamas and Islamic Jihad and anyone who opposes its decisions and privacy through social media platforms.
The issue is not new these days, but many years ago, and it is still stagnant despite attempts to reach an understanding with the authority, but it returns to break agreements and continues to withhold passports.
A few days ago, the Independent Commission for Human Rights held a workshop on the passport crisis. Jurists and specialists recommended that the Ministry of Interior in Ramallah stop working on security measures as a condition for residents of the Gaza Strip to obtain a passport.
They called for the abolition of all cases of denial of obtaining a passport under security pretexts, without a judicial decision, and the need to take measures for accountability from the competent authorities, in any incident or complaint that affects the right to movement, and the prevention of obtaining a passport.
Jurists called for the issue of passports to be taken out of the circle of political quarrels, rights are not violated, and the law is respected.
At the beginning of the meeting, the researcher in the independent commission, Hassan Halaseh, stated that his commission had received dozens of complaints, the owners of which stated that they were prevented from obtaining a Palestinian passport, and thus were deprived of their right to freedom of movement and travel.
He stated that from the beginning of 2019 until the end of September 2021, the PA received 72 complaints about being denied a passport, and the justification for this, as it reaches through the offices of the working and intermediary services, came for security reasons, without giving any justifications or a judicial decision to do so.
Talal Abu Zarifa, a member of the Political Bureau of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, considered that the passport crisis is one of the outcomes of the Palestinian division, as it has accompanied the state of division since 2007, stressing that it is not allowed for any executive authority to use this method to settle scores with the opponent.
Abu Zarifa pointed out that the judicial oversight has the only right to issue a judicial decision to obtain the passport or not, stressing that ending the division is the radical solution to this crisis, to stop the state of violations of human rights, since owning a passport is one of the most basic rights that must be enjoyed. It has everyone.
In the same context, human rights defender Ahmed Al-Ghoul, director of the commission’s office in the central and southern Gaza Strip, reviewed the international and national legal framework for the right to obtain a passport.
He pointed out that the human right to obtain papers and documents that prove his affiliation to his country, including the passport, is one of the natural rights attached to his person. The state’s duty with its various organs is to enable its citizens to obtain or renew it. Obtaining a passport is the basis of the right of movement, and depriving The person of it is obstruction and violation that requires accountability.
Depriving the Gazan of obtaining his passport causes many problems, such as not continuing his university education or treatment abroad and depriving him of work, performing Hajj or family reunification, so this issue must be raised continuously and pressure to reach a solution.