Report: Palestinian residency rights taken

May 11, 2011 at 3:56 PM
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JERUSALEM, May 11 (UPI) -- Israel secretly stripped 140,000 Palestinians of residency rights in the West Bank between 1967 and 1994, Haaretz reported Wednesday.

Saab Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, called Israel's actions a war crime, Haaretz reported. He also charged it was a deliberate attempt to clear space in the West Bank for Jewish settlers.

Haaretz, using information obtained under the Freedom of Information Law, reported the Israeli policy was in force from the 1967 war, in which Israel gained control of the West Bank and Gaza, to the signing of the Oslo Accords. Palestinians leaving the West Bank via Jordan were required to give up their ID cards at the Allenby Bridge crossing.

"This policy should not only be seen as a war crime as it is under international law; it also has a humanitarian dimension: we are talking about people who left Palestine to study or work temporarily but who could not return to resume their lives in their country with their families," Erekat said.

Erekat called on other countries to recognize a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders.

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