Woman next to West Bank fence
A Palestinian woman hangs laundry outside her house in front of a section of the separation barrier in the West Bank. Photo by Reuters
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The Israeli Civil Administration operating in the West Bank is demanding that Palestinian residents submit requests in Hebrew only, the Hamoked Center for the Defense of the Individual said.

In a formal letter sent to the NGO by the office of the new chief of the administration, Brig. Gen. Moti Almoz, the government body suggests that the thousands of Palestinians seeking the services of the District Coordination and Liaison offices hire Palestinian "typists" to assist them. The typists being referred to are untrained Palestinians who position themselves next to the Civil Administration office with typewriters, offering to type up requests for a fee.

In a letter to Almoz, an attorney on the staff of Hamoked, Ido Blum, wrote that refusing to process requests written in Arabic sharply contradicts the duties of the military commander and the Civil Administration in occupied territories as defined by international law and acknowledged by Israeli court rulings.

Blum noted that even if the requests were filed within Israel, they would still need to be processed by law, as Arabic is an official language of the state. And, he argued, they must be processed all the more when written by Palestinians whose mother tongue and only official language is Arabic.

The forms in question are available in Arabic, but many of the officers and officials charged with handling the Palestinian population don't speak or read Arabic on a high-enough level to understand such documents.

Blum argued that the Civil Administration needs to provide appropriate training for its staff, and Hamoked warned that unless the situation is rectified, the organization would resort to legal channels.