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Israeli forces offer Palestinians in Hebron permits in exchange for 'good behavior'

Aug. 13, 2017 7:45 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 14, 2017 6:09 P.M.)
Israeli soldiers and border police officers guard a settler tour of the Old City of Hebron on June 10, 2017. (Credit: Christian Peacemaker Teams)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- The Israeli army has called on Palestinians from the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron to “behave” in order to obtain lessened security restrictions on some of the city’s residents.

Israeli forces distributed leaflets in the Al-Moskobiya, al-Salam, and al-Mahawir neighborhoods of Hebron City stating that residents of those areas who had previously been refused entry permits to Israel would be eligible to apply on Tuesday for the security ban against them to be removed -- allowing them to request entry permits to Israel in the future.

A similar one-day campaign allowing Palestinians to appeal their Israel travel bans was organized a week earlier for residents of the Hebron-area town of Idhna, the army said in a statement, adding that 52 Idhna residents had seen their security ban lifted immediately, while 137 more cases were being studied.

"These campaigns are part of the security forces' efforts to help peaceful Palestinian residents who do not partake in terror attacks," the army statement read.

However, according to official Palestinian news agency Wafa, the army leaflets warned that “this campaign will continue in accordance with the level of the population's non-interference in terrorist operations and stone- and Molotov cocktail-throwing incidents.”

This story continues below. 

The move is tied to Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s "carrot and stick" policy toward Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, whereby harsher punishment would be imposed upon families and villages from which "terrorists" originate, while economic benefits would be granted to areas that "have not produced terrorists."

As part of this policy, the Israeli security cabinet announced in June that five Palestinian cities -- notably Qalqiliya in the northern West Bank -- would be permitted to expand into Area C -- the more than 60 percent of the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control.

However, the plan sparked uproar among far-right Israeli politicians, who saw such a move as permanently relinquishing large parts of Area C to a future Palestinian state should a two-state solution ever be reached between Israelis and Palestinians, impeding plans by Israel’s extreme right to fully annex Area C. As a result of the far-right pushback, the Israeli security cabinet voted in July to postpone discussions regarding the plans to expand Qalqiliya.
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