Israel announced on Tuesday that it approved registration as West Bank residents for some 4,000 Palestinians who have been living for years in the Israeli-occupied territory without official status.
The decision affects 2,800 former inhabitants of the Gaza Strip who left the enclave after Hamas fighters seized it in internal Palestinian fighting in 2007, Israel’s COGAT liaison office to the Palestinians said.
For the latest headlines, follow our Google News channel online or via the app.
Some 1,200 other Palestinians, among them undocumented spouses and children of West Bank residents, will also receive official standing.
Inclusion in the Palestinian Population Registry, which Israel controls, will enable the group to receive identification cards. The documentation will enable passage through Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank, an area captured in a 1967 war.
Israel describes the roadblocks, condemned by Palestinians and rights groups as restricting freedom of movement, as a security necessity.
On Twitter, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he approved the 4,000 residency registrations as a humanitarian gesture and “as part of my policy to strengthen the economy and improve the lives of Palestinians” in the West Bank.
Hussein Al Sheikh, a senior official of the Palestinian Authority (PA) that exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, said on Twitter that the 4,000 “obtained their right to citizenship” and would receive identification cards.
Under interim peace deals in the 1990s that established the PA, the Palestinian side was given the right, with prior approval by Israel, to grant permanent residency in the West Bank and Gaza to spouses and children of Palestinian residents.
The accords did not specify any family reunification figures.
Rights groups that examine Israeli activities in the occupied territories said a quota system was put into effect, with the number of reunification requests to be considered annually by Israel rising to 4,000 in the year 2000.
Israel froze the process at the start of a Palestinian uprising in September 2000. It granted some 32,000 reunification requests in 2008 and 2009, but has largely suspended approvals, save for a smattering of humanitarian cases, since then.
Gantz gave the new approvals some seven weeks after holding talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah. It was the highest-level meeting between Abbas and an Israeli minister to be made public since Israel’s new government was formed in June.
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a far-right politician, opposes the creation of a Palestinian state, a divisive issue his cross-partisan government is unlikely to pursue. Israeli-Palestinian peace talks collapsed in 2014.
Israeli gunfire kills at least four Palestinians in West Bank: Palestinian ministryIsraeli forces killed at least four Palestinians during a raid in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.For the ... Middle East
Israeli troops shoot dead Palestinian man during clashes at West Bank settlementIsraeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian man and injured others on Friday during clashes at a protest against Israeli settlements in the occupied ... Middle East
Israel asks court to delay demolition of West Bank bedouin village of Khan al-AhmarIsrael’s justice ministry on Sunday requested more time to respond to a petition on demolishing a strategically located Bedouin village in the ... Middle East
Israeli military investigates fatal shooting of Palestinian in West BankThe Israeli military said on Thursday it was investigating the fatal shooting of a Palestinian civilian in the occupied West Bank, who residents said ... Middle East
US donation of COVID-19 vaccines arrives in Israeli-occupied West Bank and GazaA US donation of 500,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses arrived in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza on Tuesday, as Palestinian officials work to boost ... Coronavirus
Palestinian teen killed by Israeli fire in West Bank clashes: Health ministryA 15-year-old Palestinian was killed by Israeli fire in the occupied West Bank Tuesday when clashes erupted after Israeli forces stormed a refugee ... Middle East
Rocket fired from Gaza after Israeli army kills four Palestinians in West BankAir raid sirens sounded in southern Israel on Monday after a rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip, the first since the 11-day war between Israel and ... Middle East
Israel will approve new homes for West Bank settlers, PalestiniansIsrael is set to approve construction of new homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank but in a rare step will also grant permits for ... Middle East