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Jerusalemite attempts to smuggle Palestinian from West Bank into Jerusalem

Aug. 18, 2017 2:26 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 18, 2017 7:08 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Two Palestinians were detained on Thursday night at al-Zaim checkpoint east of Jerusalem after a Palestinian from occupied East Jerusalem attempted to smuggle a Palestinian from the occupied West Bank into Israeli-controlled Jerusalem.

Israeli spokesperson Luba al-Samri said that the Palestinian Jerusalemite was hiding a Palestinian in his twenties from the West Bank district of Hebron in the trunk of his car, in an attempt to smuggle the Palestinian into East Jerusalem without an Israeli-issued permit.

Al-Samri said that the driver was a 35-year-old Palestinian from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya.

Both Palestinians were detained and transferred to interrogations with Israeli authorities, she said.

While the international community recognizes East Jerusalem as an integral part of Palestinian territory, Israel officially annexed East Jerusalem -- the future capital of any independent Palestinian state -- in 1980.

Israel’s annexation, checkpoints, and illegal separation wall has forced Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza to obtain Israeli-issued permits to enter East Jerusalem and Israel.

Meanwhile, Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, who hold blue identification cards, are allowed to pass Israeli checkpoints without permits and are permitted to drive Israeli cars -- marked with a yellow license plate, whereas Palestinians with West Bank IDs would be detained by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) should they be found driving an Israeli car.

However, Palestinians in East Jerusalem are not considered Israeli citizens, and instead hold temporary residency status, which can be revoked by Israeli authorities for various reasons. Thousands of Palestinians have had their Jerusalem IDs rescinded over the years.

Analysts have pointed out that Israel’s permit system has cemented a regime of separation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory, as the color of a Palestinian’s ID dictates where they can live, where they are allowed to travel, and even which roads they are permitted to drive on.

Others have noted that the system is focused on splitting up the Palestinian population, in a “divide and conquer” tactic, in order to erode the Palestinian identity and prevent future unification or popular movements against Israeli policies.
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