Report: Gov't Won't Grant Rights to Palestinians West of Fence

PA newspaper Al Quds says that W. Bank residents annexed to J'lem by fence won't enjoy resident status.

The State of Israel will not grant permanent or temporary residency to West Bank Palestinians whose homes were annexed to the Jerusalem municipal area by the separation fence, the Palestinian newspaper Al Quds reported on Sunday.

The measure, which was reportedly approved by the cabinet in October, stipulates that the Palestinians in question could at most apply for residency permits from the military authorities - which confer no right to work in Israel, to obtain Israeli health insurance or to enjoy any of the other benefits of legal residency.

At the fringes of Jerusalem's municipal area are a few neighborhoods that are officially part of the West Bank. Their residents are Palestinian Authority citizens, and are legally banned from entering Israel. The newly-built separation fence between Israel and the West Bank disconnected them from the rest of the West Bank.

The decision effectively means that the communities that were forcibly annexed to Israel will not be permitted to work and study in Israel and receive welfare benefits. In order to work they would have to travel to the West Bank, but travel expenses are in most cases higher than a day's salary.

The Association for Civil Rights said that "the government strives to make the lives of the Palestinians who were annexed to Jerusalem intolerable to a degree that they would leave their homes and move to the West Bank."