- Under South African apartheid, pass laws segregated blacks
from whites, restricted their movements, required pass books be carried
at all times, and be produced on demand or face arrest and prosecution.
- Evolving from the 18th and 19th century until their 1986
repeal, they restricted entry to cities, forcibly relocated blacks, denied
them most public amenities, many forms of employment, and became apartheid's
most hated symbol.
- Repressive Israeli occupation is worse. It's a sophisticated
form of social, economic, political and racial discrimination, strangulation,
- It incorporates the worst elements of colonialism and
apartheid as well as repressive dispossession, displacement and state terrorism.
It separates Palestinians from their land and heritage, denies them their
lawful rights, and displaces them from areas Israel wants exclusively for
- Apartheid is the worst form of racism. Israel's militarized
occupation is the worst form of apartheid. It incorporates violence, military
incursions, land theft, home demolitions, targeted assassinations, murder,
mass arrests, torture, destruction of agricultural land, and isolation.
It's slow-motion genocide, including suffocating Gazans under siege.
- The ID/permit system is one of many elements designed
to make greater Israel an ethnically pure Jewish state.
- Israel requires all permanent residents and citizens
over 16 to have a color-coded ID cards. Called te'udat zehut, they're for
West Bank and Gazan Palestinians, East Jerusalem ones, Israeli Arabs and
- For Palestinians, they dictate where they may live, work,
move, or be allowed through West Bank checkpoints, to Israel or Gaza. Doing
so requires hard to get permits. They're easily cancelled without notice.
- Jews have blue IDs, Palestinians either Israeli-issued
orange ones (in Hebrew) or nearly identical Palestinian Authority-issued
green ones with a PA seal on top. The following information is included:
- name and ID number;
- father and mother's names;
- date and place of birth;
- marital status;
- gender; and
- Prior to 2005, ethnicity was also included. It's still
available on request from state registrations.
- A separate document includes:
- current and previous addresses;
- previous names;
- citizenship, including for permanent resident citizens
of other countries;
- name, birth date and ID numbers for spouse and children;
- electoral polling stamp.
- Israel's Bureaucratic Nightmare
- On December 23, Haaretz writer Chaim Levinson headlined,
"Israel has 101 different types of permits governing Palestinian movement,"
- Most common ones let Palestinians "work in Israel,
or in Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Over the decades, however, the
permit regimen has grown into a vast, triple-digit bureaucracy."
- Separate permits are required for Al-Aqsa Mosque worshippers
and clerics. Medical permits distinguish between physicians and ambulance
drivers. They also differ for "medical emergency staff" and "medical
staff" in the seam zone (between the Green Line and Israel's Separation
- Escorting a patient in an ambulance requires permit permission
as does simply accompanying a patient.
- Others are for traveling to a West Bank wedding or Israel,
as well as visiting Israel for a funeral, work meeting, or court hearing.
- New permits followed Israel's Separation Wall construction,
including for farmers cut off from their land. For example, permit permission
is required for "farmer(s) in the seam zone." A separate one
is for "permanent farmer(s) in the seam zone." In other words,
working one's own land requires Israeli permission.
- According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA), Occupied Palestine-based international agencies waste 20%
of their time applying for, renewing, and dealing with permit related problems.
- Machsom Watch, a checkpoint monitoring organization,
claims Shin Bet uses Israel's permit system to recruit informers. Palestinians
rejected for security reasons are targeted. In return for spying, they
offer "assistance" getting permits.
- Besides other daily abuses, Israel's permit system creates
a dystopian nightmare for Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. Major media scoundrels
almost never discuss its existence, let alone its draconian harshness.
- A Final Comment
- In 2001, Israel enacted an Electronic Signature Law.
Plans were to issue smart ID cards. The project stalled for a decade. Storing
biometric data electronically raises privacy and other civil liberty concerns.
- Unlike magnetic cards, however, biometric characteristics
are hard to counterfeit, copy, share, lose, or guess.
- After much debate, Israel's Knesset enacted the Biometric
Database Law in December 2009. A year later, Netanyahu's government approved
it. As a result, the Interior Ministry will begin issuing Israeli citizens
smart ID cards and electronic passports with embedded chips over a two
year trial period.
- New regulations call for:
- issuing a biometric ID;
- requiring fingerprints and facial images;
- encrypting and securing the data; and
- transferring it among authorized agencies.
- At the end of the year end 2013 trial period, all Israeli
citizens will be required to provide biometric data for IDs, passports,
and storage in Israel's national database.
- Palestinians already must have their hands electronically
scanned when applying for Israeli-Issued Magnetic ID cards. At issue is
facilitating freer movement under repressive imposed restrictions.
- For example, West Bank Palestinians wishing to reach
Jerusalem, Gaza or Israel must apply and pay for a magnetic card. Having
one proves they have security clearance permission. If gotten, it's for
short periods. Most often it's for medical or other emergencies.
- Foreign travel requires an Interior Ministry-issued "laisser
passer." If granted, it's good for one year and renewable only in
Israel. To reach Jordan, a valid passport is needed. Many West Bank and
East Jerusalemites have it as the Hashemite Kingdom once administered the
- Under siege, Gazans are entirely isolated with few exceptions,
other than those able to reach Egypt through Rafah. Those granted travel
permission to Jordan or abroad via Ben Gurion Airport must have authorized
IDs, magnetic cards and permits.
- For decades under occupation, Palestinians have been
governed by hundreds of draconian military orders. They cover virtually
everything from bank account withdrawals, water rights, land transactions,
opening a business, growing onions, public gatherings, what can and can't
be published, planting and growing fruit trees, and much more.
- Under military occupation, their lives are repressively
micromanaged. Orwell understood it well. He once called "the price
of liberty....not so much eternal vigilance as eternal dirt." Getting
it, of course, is worth it.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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