Israel to require all visitors to declare West Bank property, inheritance

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(Photo: AFP)
AMMAN — Foreigners will have to declare whether they have family, property, or inheritance in the West Bank when visiting the Palestinian territory starting in May 2022, according to new guidelines published by the Israeli government.اضافة اعلان

In addition, Israeli officials will now be able to demand that visitors hand over a financial deposit of up to 70,000 shekels (JD 15,090) upon entering, which will be returned once “compliance with the terms of the resident permit has been verified, or the foreigner has departed.”

Palestinian lawyer Ahmed Abufoul wrote that the new declaration form “racially discriminates” against people of Palestinian origin.

“The information Israel gathers from Palestinian (sic) relating to their property in the occupied West Bank has no reasonable relationship to their entry and is likely to be used to adversely affect their vested and non-vested property interests given Israel’s settlement enterprise,” Abufoul, legal research and advocacy officer at the Palestinian rights organization Al-Haq, declared in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

Relatives of Palestinians, businesspeople, investors, and journalists seeking to visit the West Bank will be required to enter from Jordan via the King Hussein Bridge. Those visitors will only be allowed to enter from Israel via Ben Gurion Airport in “exceptional” circumstances, with advanced approval from Israeli authorities.

The guidelines do not mention foreign tourists, but state that they will “not apply to foreigners asking to visit the area (the West Bank) and Israel in parallel.”

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Israeli occupation authority in the Palestinian territories, quietly published the updated guidelines online in February 2022.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on the guidelines in March 2022, noting that they were written as human rights lawyers petitioned Israeli authorities to ease restrictions on visiting the Palestinian territories. Instead, Israel tightened those restrictions.

The Haaretz report noted that only 100 foreign teachers and 150 foreign students will be allowed to study at Palestinian universities at a time. However, the report did not mention the new property declaration requirements.

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