A question which comes to mind is this one: “What is the most important piece of information you have not heard from a Palestinian official about Israel?”
If you ask me, it is this: “Why is it that Palestinians have been allowed to travel to Israel and Gaza for so long?
How come it is so difficult for them to obtain visas?”
It is a question which I am sure many of you have asked yourself.
The answer is simple: the answer lies in the fact that Palestinians are the ones who make it difficult for Israel to grant their visas.
To understand this, we need to go back to a little-known fact: during the time that the State of Israel was founded in 1948, there were some 100,000 Palestinian refugees in the West Bank.
In 1967, Israel established its “law of return,” allowing Palestinians to return home after leaving the territories.
This was an important change in Israeli law.
For many years, Israeli citizens could only be deported back to their home country if they had committed some type of violent or criminal act.
But for Palestinians, this was simply a means to allow them to return to their homeland and live in peace and dignity.
The law of return also provided the Palestinians with a way out of the Israeli colonial occupation.
They were entitled to the full rights of citizenship, to live under the law of their homeland, to be employed in their own fields, to work without fear of discrimination and harassment, and to receive the support they needed.
For decades, this situation was maintained.
Palestinians were allowed to return, and they were encouraged to make their home lives as normal as possible.
They worked, studied, and built their lives in their homeland.
They even earned a living, since they were able to access basic public services, such as electricity and water.
But in the 1970s, the Israeli government began to introduce a series of policies which aimed to undermine the Palestinian citizens’ rights to return and to their land.
These policies included demolishing hundreds of Palestinian homes, the imposition of a permanent curfew on Palestinian villages, the creation of a new administrative separation between Palestinians and Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories, and the imposition and strengthening of Israel’s military occupation.
At the same time, Israel was also expanding the number of checkpoints on Palestinian land, which were used to prevent Palestinians from returning to their homes.
In the years following the 1967 war, many Palestinian families left their homes in the occupied territories and headed to refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere.
For most of these families, Israel also continued to maintain its discriminatory policies, even as it continued to expand its military occupation of the territories it occupied.
In 1979, after the Oslo Accords came into effect, the Oslo agreements, and their accompanying laws and regulations, were adopted by the Palestinian leadership.
These laws and procedures provided a legal framework for Palestinians to resume their lives as Israelis, with the full protections of their human rights.
For many years afterwards, Palestinians have continued to face the discrimination and violence they had suffered under Israel’s occupation.
In the 1980s, a group of Palestinians began to organize and protest outside the Israeli embassy in Tel Aviv.
Their demands were met by the Israeli authorities.
At the same year, the Israel Police arrested a number of Palestinians for throwing stones at Israeli police in Jerusalem.
In 1987, the Jerusalem Municipality established a special unit dedicated to investigating and prosecuting violent crimes committed by Palestinians against Israelis.
At this point, Israel has been able to maintain control over the Palestinian population of the West Wall, the northern West Bank, and Gaza Strip.
Yet Palestinians continue to live in fear of their lives and the lives of their families.
The reality is that many Palestinian residents of the occupied Palestinian territories are now facing the very same issues that were facing them in the early years of the occupation: their livelihoods are threatened, their rights to travel, and a whole range of other fundamental rights are under attack.
In fact, since the Oslo accords were signed in 1993, Israel’s policies have been to intensify its military and administrative control over Palestinian territory.
This has resulted in a situation in which the Israeli security establishment has grown increasingly powerful and is increasingly able to impose its will on Palestinians and their neighbors, and thus to dictate to the people of the Occupying State what their daily lives should be.
This situation is, of course, not without its problems.
The state of emergency which has been in place since 2005 has allowed for the imposition on Palestinians of restrictions on their movement, in some cases for life, which has created enormous social, economic, and political tensions.
For example, Israel requires that Palestinians who live in certain areas of the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan, Beit El, and Ein Kerem be accompanied by a police officer to ensure that they do not leave the area without permission.
Israeli authorities also enforce strict security measures on Palestinian families who visit the West Banks and Gaza, restricting them to a limited number of visits per month.