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Occupation magazine - Siege, Wall, Checkpoints

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Statusless in Gaza
Statusless in Gaza

Ghada Majadle, Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) via

Dear Friends,

PHRI has recently been handling cases of female cancer patients from the
Gaza Strip who are stateless. Some have no personal identification documents
at all. These are women whose family unification applications were never
processed or ultimately not approved, or whose families were absent from the
Gaza Strip during the 1967 census and therefore never included in the
population registry. The plight of people in this situation became worse
after an Israeli decision from 2000 to stop updating its copy of the
Palestinian population registry, which prompted the Palestinian Authority to
stop issuing ID cards.

Gaza residents who need medical treatment that is unavailable in the Strip
face many hurdles and barriers put up by Israel even when they do have
status, but for stateless individuals, obtaining a permit is a much tougher
battle as their applications are not processed by the Civil Liaison
Administration (CLA) as per standard procedure, but by the Israeli Ministry
of Interior.

Many who apply via this process know that their chances of obtaining a
permit are particularly low, both because the Palestinian Civilian Affairs
Committee considers these applications especially complicated, and because
Israel views them as entry applications by foreign nationals, towards whom
it has even less than the minimal obligations it has toward Palestinian
residents. Fortunately, following our intervention, one of the women did
get a permit, and we are currently handling several similar applications in
the hopes that the women involved will be able to enter in the coming days.

The State of Israel tramples these womens most basic rights - to life and
to health - under foot, while claiming it is not responsible for what
happens in the Gaza Strip. So long as Israel refuses to update the
population registry, and so long as the Palestinian Authority abstains from
issuing new ID cards as a result of this, Israel bears a moral duty to allow
these women to exit for medical treatment. The status and health of women
towards whom Israel shuns any and all responsibility cannot continue to
hinge on the Israeli population registry.

Ghada Majadle
Occupied Territories Department Director
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
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