Lift Travel Restrictions on Palestinian Journalist sign now

Palestinian journalist Khalid Amayreh, who lives in the West Bank, has been invited to attend a media conference in Germany. As required, he set about to request all of the necessary travel documents, including a visa that needs to be granted from the German representative office in Ramallah. After routine questioning regarding his political affiliations, it was not only determined that he was not a member of any party, nor formally associated with any organisation, but it was clear that he had never been arrested or detained by Israeli authorities. Mr Amayreh was granted an entry visa to Germany. However, the Israeli military authorities have refused to give him a permit to leave the West Bank. No Palestinian can travel abroad without receiving such a permit beforehand, otherwise he or she would be turned back once arriving at the Israeli-controlled border terminal at the Allenby Bridge.

Mr Amayreh then went to his local District Coordination Office in Dura, where he was informed that his information was forwarded to the Shin Bet (General Security Services) of the Israeli government. Then two days later, the GSS informed the Palestinian office that Amayreh was barred from leaving the West Bank for security reasons. No further explanation was given.

His fortune in obtaining the required travel permission did not change as he applied to the Civil Administration Headquarters in Hebron, a metallic pen holding persons seeking the mandatory permission even to go to East Jerusalem for medical treatment, where it is not unusual to find them huddled and waiting their turn for ten or more hours, under the watchful eye of Israeli military watchtowers.

The Palestinian Civil Affairs Coordination Office in the West Bank was also unable to mediate on his behalf, as they too are entirely dependent upon the decisions, without clarification, evidence or justification, made by the Israeli Security division.

There is indeed no justification for the violation of this mans civil and human rights, and along with him, the rights of all others who are denied freedom of movement with no justification whatsoever. The Occupation authorities, while they have no sovereignty over citizens of the Palestinian Authority, dictate what must be done with those citizens and the world seems to consider the violation of their rights acceptable and normal praxis. These people are not pawns on a chessboard, but are individuals who seek the basic liberties that all democracies are obligated to provide for their people. The Palestinian Authority does not exercise its duty of guaranteeing civil liberties to its own citizens, and treats them as if they shall be subject to the whims of the Occupier.

We ask for the immediate revision of the decision regarding Mr Amayreh, so that he is granted the documents necessary for him to exercise his freedom of movement allowing him to continue to provide for himself and his family in the work that he is employed in, as well as for the Palestinian Authority to assume a position that sets the freedoms of its citizens as a priority that is greater than the perceived security risks declared by the agency of the State of Israel.

SPANISH
El periodista palestino Khalid Amayreh, que vive en Cisjordania, ha sido invitado a asistir a una conferencia de medios en Alemania. Segъn la reglamentaciуn, se le solicitaron todos los documentos necesarios, incluyendo una visa que necesita le sea concedida por la oficina de la representaciуn alemana en Ramallah. Despuйs de un interrogatorio rutinario relacionado con su filiaciуn polнtica, no solamente se determinу que no era miembro de partidos polнticos, ni que estaba asociado formalmente a alguna organizaciуn, sino que fue evidente que nunca habнa sido arrestado ni detenido por las autoridades israelнes. Se le concediу al Sr. Amayreh una visa de ingreso a Alemania. Sin embargo, las autoridades militares israelнes se han opuesto a concederle un permiso para salir de Cisjordania. Ningъn palestino puede viajar al extranjero sin recibir tal permiso con antelaciуn, de otra manera serнa devuelto una vez que llegue a la terminal de frontera controlada por los israelнes en el Puente Allenby.

Despuйs, el Sr. Amayreh fue a su Oficina de Coordinaciуn de Distrito local en Dura, donde fue informado que sus datos personales habнan sido enviados a la Shin Bet (Servicios de Seguridad General o GSS por sus siglas en inglйs) del gobierno israelн. Luego de dos dнas, los GSS le informaron a la oficina palestina que Amayreh tenнa "prohibido salir de Cisjordania por razones de seguridad." No le dieron detalles adicionales.

Su suerte para obtener el permiso de viaje requerido no cambiу cuando solicitу el permiso en las Oficinas Centrales de la Administraciуn Civil en Hebrуn, un corral metбlico para detener a las personas que buscan el permiso para ir a Jerusalйn Este por tratamiento mйdico, donde no es raro encontrarlos amontonados y esperando su turno durante diez horas o mбs, bajo la mirada observadora de las torres de vigilancia militares israelнes.

La Oficina de Coordinaciуn de Asuntos Civiles palestinos en Cisjordania tampoco pudo mediar en su representaciуn, dado que son totalmente dependientes de las decisiones, sin aclaraciones, evidencias o justificaciones, realizadas por la divisiуn de seguridad israelн.

De hecho, no existe justificaciуn para la violaciуn de los derechos civiles y humanos de este hombre, y junto con йl, de los derechos de las demбs personas a quienes les es negada su libertad de trбnsito sin ninguna justificaciуn en absoluto. Aunque las autoridades de ocupaciуn no tienen soberanнa sobre los ciudadanos de la Autoridad Palestina, dictan quй debe hacerse con esos ciudadanos y el mundo parece considerar que la violaciуn de sus derechos es una prбctica aceptable y normal. Estas personas no son peones en un tablero de ajedrez, sino individuos que luchan por sus libertades bбsicas, mismas que toda democracia estб obligada a garantizarle a su pueblo. La Autoridad Palestina no ejerce su deber de garantizar libertades civiles a sus propios ciudadanos, y los trata como si estuviesen sujetos a los caprichos del ocupante.

Solicitamos la inmediata revisiуn de la decisiуn relacionada con el Sr. Amayreh, de manera que le sean concedidos los documentos necesarios para que ejerza su libertad de trбnsito y pueda continuar desempeсando su trabajo para abastecerse йl mismo y su familia, asн como tambiйn que la Autoridad Palestina asuma una posiciуn que le brinde la libertad a sus ciudadanos como una prioridad mayor a los riesgos de seguridad percibidos y declarados por la agencia del estado de Israel.

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Alicia DavenportBy:
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