[JURIST] Israel is breaching international humanitarian law and is violating the rights of Palestinians by placing severe restrictions on family visits with Palestinian prisoners, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B'Tselem) [advocacy website] said in a new report [text; press release] released Thursday. The human rights group claims that Israel is breaching the Geneva Convention [text], which prohibits the transfer of civilians, including detainees and prisoners, from the occupied territory to the territory of the occupying state, by holding more than 9,000 Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza Strip in Israel's sovereign territory. Further, relatives of the Palestinian prisoners are required to obtain permits from the army to enter Israel, resulting in the denial of all visitors between the ages of 16 and 35. According to the report:
The restrictions entailed in the procedure for issuing permits to enter Israel make it impossible for many Palestinians to visit their relatives more than once every few months. Many others are not granted entry permits and are thus prevented from visiting their relatives at all. For those with permits, the visit takes a whole day to complete because of the prolonged checks and delays.The Palestinian entry ban was instituted in September 2000 in an effort to increase security following a breakdown in peace talks. In May, the Supreme Court of Israel [official website] upheld [JURIST report] the legality of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law [text], which limits the rights of Palestinians to live in Israel [JURIST news archive], and allows only Palestinian women 25 years or older and men 35 years or older to join their families in Israel and eventually be eligible for full citizenship.
Last week, Israel's High Court urged the country's military to reconsider its ban [JURIST report] on entry by Palestinians and allow a Palestinian woman entry into Israel so she can pursue a doctoral degree at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem [academic website]. AP has more.