Israel removes requirement to report romantic relationships for entry into Palestinian territories

Israeli authorities have reversed one of the entry conditions that was to be implemented in the West Bank and Gaza, that of reporting romantic relationships with Palestinians, following complaints from the United States and international human rights organizations.

Israel has thus modified the requirement to report romantic relationships to the Israeli Defense Ministry after the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Tom Nides, expressed concern over the new changes in the regulations.

“Today COGAT (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) issued its revised guidelines. Since February, I have aggressively engaged with the Israeli government on this draft, and we will continue to do so in the 45 days leading up to implementation and during the pilot period of dis years,” Nides said Monday on his Twitter profile after learning of the modification.

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Originally, the regulation contemplated that if the relationship began after the foreign citizen’s arrival, he or she would have 30 days to report any engagement, wedding, as well as the start of cohabitation.

On the other hand, if the formalization of the relationship was not reported within 90 days, the foreign national could be deported immediately. Likewise, if the two married, they were obliged to leave within 27 months and remain outside for at least half a year.

These rules were not to apply to those visiting Jewish settlements in the West Bank, but they were to apply to Palestinians with passports from another country visiting the West Bank. They would also not be able to apply for a visa at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv, but would have to apply at least 45 days in advance.

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The revised measure, which will come into force on October 20, also modifies the previously announced limitation on the number of visas for study purposes, both to attend classes and to teach at Palestinian universities, as well as for businessmen and humanitarian organizations.

Thus, visas for foreigners will be extended from 90 days to 180 days, while quotas for visiting professors and students at Palestinian universities, originally set at 100 professors and 150 students, have been eliminated.

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