After years of ambiguity in Gaza, some Palestinians acquire legal status

GAZA CITY: Al-Najjar couldn’t leave the Gaza Strip ever since he returned to Palestinian land 25 years ago even to get medical treatment for his spine. Neither has he been able to say goodbye to his mother, who passed away in Jordan the previous year.

The reason for such detention was Israel’s refusal for permitting the Palestinian Authority from issuing a national identification card to him.  Even prior to the time that Egypt and Israel stood a harsh barrier after the control of Gaza was seized by the Hamas militant group in 2007, this made it quite hard to move out. 

“My anguish was enormous” a 62-year-old carpenter, Al-Najjar, said of a “horrific” succession of fruitless attempts to obtain permits to leave the tiny coastal area. 

The man is now one among 3,200 other Palestinians in Gaza who will receive a national ID card in the near future

This will certainly make travel easier, he will still have to move through a maze of bureaucratic roadblocks which are a result of the blockade. 

Israel believes in the necessity of these limitations for this is how it can keep Hamas in control, but humanitarian groups see the blockade as collective punishment for 2 million Palestinians of Gaza.

In 2005, soldiers and settlers were evacuated from Gaza by Israel, and two years after that, the PA forces were pushed out by Hamas.

The Palestinian population registry, a computerised database ID numbers along with names is still controlled by Israel. Palestinians and the majority of the international community considers Gaza as a part of the occupied territory. 

It is reported that over thousands of Palestinians have no legal status which makes movement through Israeli military checkpoints in the West Bank and international borders quite impossible. The majority comprises people who had been living and working overseas and returned to this region. and Israel has refused to give them registrations. 

A senior official in Hamas’ Interior Ministry, Ahed Hamada is of the belief that there are over 30,000 residents who have no legal status in Gaza. 

Based on the conversations that recently happened between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, as a goodwill gesture, Israel is in agreement of offering residency to 13,500 Palestinians. Since more than 10 years of unsuccessful peace-talks, it is the first batch to experience this. 

The current government of Israel, which has parties that are both pro-Palestinian and anti-Palestinian, has chosen to rule out prime attempts to end the conflict but has stated that it is willing to improve living conditions in the Palestinian areas.

It is also willing to aid the (PA) Palestinian Authority, that administers some areas of West Bank and manages security with Israel, despite the fact it’s growing unpopularity.

Gantz had promised to continue effectuating “initiatives of building confidence in economic and civilian realms” in a statement that was released after the conclusion of his meeting with Abbas.

Eleni Kyriakou

Eleni is a journalist and analyst at Parliament Magazine focusing on European News and current affairs. She worked as Press and Communication Office – Greek Embassy in Lisbon and Quattro Books Publications, Canada. She is Multilingual with a good grip of cultures, eye in detail, communicative, effective. She holds Master in degree from York University.