Jordan condemns Israel over West Bank deportation order
Israel refutes eviction reports, assures PA that there will be no deportation of Palestinians to Gaza.
Jordan condemned Israel on Wednesday over an Israel Defense Forces order facilitating the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinian from the West Bank.
The order, though in existence since 1969, was recently discussed in a Haaretz article.
According to the report, a military order aimed at preventing infiltration was to come into force, enabling the deportation of tens of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank, or their indictment on charges carrying prison terms of up to seven years. Under the order, tens of thousands of Palestinians will automatically become criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.
Israel's Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday that Israel's ambassador to Jordan, Dani Nevo, was summoned to the offices of the Jordanian foreign ministry where he was harshly chastised over Israel's military order that could lead to the eviction of thousands from the West Bank.
A Jordanian official filling in for Jordan's Foreign Minister has released a statement in which the Amman government condemns the order. The official requested that the statement be forwarded to the Israeli government in Jerusalem.
According to Israel's Foreign Ministry, Ambassador Nevo briefed Jordan's government on the facts regarding the order, and he also clarified that the order will not change the status quo in the West Bank, but rather improve the situation by providing judicial defense to those Palestinians who are evicted.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Israel sent a calming message to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, assuring him that Israel does not intend to harm residents of the Gaza Strip currently living in the West Bank, in light of the recent Haaretz report.
"There is no truth in the publications that Israel intends to deport Gazans residing in the West Bank," Brigadier-General Eitan Dangot, the coordinator of government activities in the Palestinian territories, told top Fatah official Hussein a-Sheikh during a phone conversation.
A-Sheikh told Haaretz that Dangot requested he pass the message on to Abbas, saying that "he [Dangot] explained that the order has been in place since 1969 and promised that not a single person will be deported to Gaza."
"Regarding the security decisions, we agreed that we would cooperate as we have in the past," said a-Sheikh about his conversation with Dangot, adding that "there is no intention to treat residents of the west Bank who are originally from Gaza as 'illegal'."
A-Sheik added that "Dangot said that Israel would not enable tourists who enter Israel with a visa to enter the Palestinian territories."
However a-Sheikh also criticized the very existence of the military order which has existed since 1969, saying that it violated agreements signed between Israeli and the PA in 1994, and proves that Israel is still trying to enforce its sovereignty on the territories.
"Israel is still trying to enforce the occupation laws in the West Bank and does not recognize the West Bank and the Gaza strip as a separate geographical unit," a-Sheikh said, adding that "these are signs that Israel wants to maintain the occupation laws as they are in the West Bank."