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3.11.2014

According to the Palestinian media: children born abroad who have a parent who is a resident of the OPT, would no longer need to obtain a permit from Israel in order to enter the West Bank for the purpose of registering in the Palestinian population registry – provided they are under age 14

In the framework of the Oslo Accords the Palestinian Authority was given sole jurisdiction over the registration in the OPT population registry of children up to age 16, regardless of whether they are abroad, provided one of their parents is a resident of the OPT. In practice, Israel blatantly deviates from this, and demands that the children be physically present in the OPT during their registration. This requirement contains another one – the children are thus required to apply for an entry permit for the West Bank (visit permit), which in recent years is completely unobtainable. Thus Israel succeeded to prevent many children from being registered as Palestinians. Israel has had until recently effective control over the registration, as all minors were required to apply – in vain – for the unavailable Israeli visit permit – which had not been issued for years – in order to enter the West Bank (all except children under five, who could enter the OPT as their parents’ companions).

Furthermore, in October 2000, with the outbreak of the second intifada, Israel froze all proceedings related to residency in the OPT, including the issuance of visit permits for the purpose of child registration. Only in 2005, following a series of petitions by HaMoked filed to the High Court of Justice (HCJ), Israel relaxed its policy and announced it would again allow children up to age 16 to visit the OPT for the purpose of registration in the population registry, provided one of their parents was a resident of the OPT. The policy change was slow to take effect, and in practice the military continued to hamper its implementation.

According to the Palestinian news agency MA’AN, in an item published on October 27, 2014, Israel has now decided to allow children up to age 14 to enter the West Bank and register in the Palestinian population registry without having to obtain a special visit permit. MA’AN reported that the decision, made following lengthy communications between the Israeli side and the Palestinian side, was expected to affect over 5,000 minors born outside the OPT every year.
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