Kairos Palestine (https://www.kairospalestine.ps/), a Palestinian Christian organization with whom CPT Hebron partners, is asking Christians around the world to contact their ambassadors to Israel and the Israeli Military and Foreign Affairs ministries regarding new military orders that could separate families. CPT Hebron asks that its constituents respond to this call.
New Military Order “Infiltrates” Palestinian Rights: Statement by Kairos Palestine
Kairos Palestine expresses its outrage and dismay about a new Israeli military order that will categorize tens of thousands of Palestinians living in the West Bank as “infiltrators”—ostensibly because they lack the proper permits—and give military officers sweeping control over their deportation. We condemn this action and call upon churches worldwide to publically demand the revocation of the order regarding “Prevention of Infiltration” (Amendment No. 2) issued by the Israeli military authorities.
The new order amends an order issued in 1969 after Israel officially occupied the West Bank and Jerusalem. The new amendment redefines an “infiltrator” as “a person who entered the Area unlawfully following the effective date, or a person who is present in the Area and does not lawfully hold a permit” (amendment to section 1.1.B), making him/her
a) Subject to almost immediate deportation,
b) potentially subject to a jail term of up to seven years, and
c) responsible for funding his/her own detention and deportation.
Furthermore, the military may delay an individual’s appearance before an appeals committee for up to eight days, despite the fact that it may command his/her expulsion within 72 hours of the order, which means, in effect, that people may be deported without any kind of legal hearing (cf. Amendment to section 3 C.D).
Who exactly will the Israeli military target as “infiltrators”? As Amira Hass of Ha’aretz reports, “the order’s language is both general and ambiguous” about this matter. Indeed, the Israeli [human rights organization] HaMoked, Center for the Defense of the Individual, remarks that the declaration is so vague that it could permit “the [Israeli] military to empty the West Bank of almost all of its Palestinian inhabitants.”
That said, the amended order suggests that the new definition of “infiltrator” will apply first and foremost to
- Gazans living in the West Bank whose addresses are still registered in the Gaza Strip and
- To their West Bank-born children and
- To Palestinians who relocated to the West Bank under family reunification provisions.
Many other sectors may be targeted as well:
- Jordanians residing in the West Bank;
- Palestinian residents of Jerusalem; ‘
- Foreign-born spouses of Palestinians and
- Foreign citizens working in the West Bank, particularly with NGOs and Human Rights groups.
The implications of the new order are multifaceted. It is
- A flagrant display of military power;
- A destructive and cynical command that reduces thousands of people into “illegal aliens” in their own homes;
- A threat that, regardless of the extent of its implementation, will confine Palestinians in their villages and further sever them from vital economic, health, education, and social centers and is
- “Another improper step toward creating demographic changes in the West Bank and entrenching a regime which discriminates between people on the basis of religion and nationality” as it has been written in a joint letter sent to Ehud Barak by a group of nine NGOs.
The above factors will create greater fear and insecurity among Palestinians, which, in turn, may lead to violence and endanger any prospect for a peace with justice in the whole region.
In addition to defying basic human rights, the military order also arrogantly violates various terms of international law, including Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting the forcible transfer/deportation of protected civilians in an occupied territory, and the principle of self-determination stipulated by general international law.
Kairos Palestine calls on churches worldwide, church related organizations, Christians and the wider international community to condemn these shameful developments and work to restore the justice that is both our calling and our right.
We further call you to take bold action:
- To support us and intervene in this latest encroachment on Palestinian rights;
- To contact Israeli officials and denounce the military order;
- To contact your own national embassies in Palestine/Israel, as well as Israeli embassies in your own countries, and urge them to pressure Ehud Barak and other members of the Israeli government to prevent its enactment.
- To inform the wider public in your different communities and networks and the media about these inhumane actions.
In every case, please emphasize that the order will not only wrongly criminalize thousands of people, but also that it will further damage efforts towards peace with justice in Palestine/Israel.
“Through our love, we will overcome injustices and establish foundations for a new society both for us and for our opponents. Our future and their future are one. Either the cycle of violence that destroys both of us or peace that will benefit both” (Kairos document 4.3).
Letters/Faxes demanding the revocation of the amended order should be sent to:
Ehud Barak, Minister of Defence,
Ministry of Defence
37 Kaplan Street, Hakirya, Tel Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: +972 3 691 6940
Avigdor Lieberman, Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
9 Yitzhak Rabin Blvd.
The Israeli Ambassador in your own country
Contact information available at https://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Sherut/IsraeliAbroad/Continents
Your own national embassy in Israel
Contact information available at https://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Sherut/ForeignInIsrael/Continents
Please copy any emails to Kalimatuna [at] gmail.com
For further information on the new order, see
New Israeli Military Order Renders Additional Palestinians as Hostages