Yesterday Human Rights Watch called Israeli government to lift residency restrictions for Gaza residents living in West Bank. It’s estimated that 35,000 Palestinians live in West Bank without proper documents. West Bank became part of Israel territory after 6 day war in 1967. The main complaint of the report is that the regulations break families apart. As of now living in West Bank with id card stating residence in Gaza qualifies for deportation. Last year Israeli authorities agreed to register 2800 new residents in West Bank and issued them proper id card with West Bank residence. Right after the 1967 war authorities conducted a census and issued id cards to over a million residents yet according to Human Right watch 270 thousand have been missed during the census.
Many West Bank residents lost their status due to excessive absence. While many people were granted residency since the system is described as clogged and causing backlogs, especially during security tension crisis time which can last for significant amount of time in that region. West Bank residents without proper identification use smuggler tunnels to cross Gaza and West Bank borders.
Israeli authorities accused report authors of anti Israel bias. Government’s spokesman Mark Regev said that “everyone knows Israel is a democracy and we have a powerful and vibrant independent judiciary,” which in his opinion denies the idea of arbitrary restrictions on the rights to reside and travel.