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Israel grants 1,000 Palestinians identification cards

Palestinians cross Qalandiya checkpoint to perform the first Friday Prayer of Islamic holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Ramallah, West Bank on 10 May, 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]
Palestinians cross the Qalandiya checkpoint on 10 May, 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Israel has granted 1,000 Palestinians, a majority of whom are based in the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian identity card and passport to help them continue to live without fear of deportation, reported Wafa news agency.

Hussein Al-Sheikh, Palestinian civil affairs minister, announced in a statement yesterday, that his office was able to get Israel to approve the applications for citizenship and will continue to follow up on thousands of other names sent to the Israeli side.

He added the applications include requests for identity cards and the issue of changing addresses between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Israel has controlled the Palestinian population registry since 1967, and the occupying state has full authority over issuing Palestinian ID cards and passports and deciding who gets to enter and exit the country.

Israel had stopped processing requests for Palestinian family reunification 12 years ago, leaving thousands of Palestinians without legal status and unable to travel or access healthcare, jobs, an education, or the legal system, including for divorces.

READ: Israel advances bill censoring Palestinian content on social media

Many avoid travelling from one town to the next, fearing arrest at military checkpoints where their IDs are checked.

Hussein Al-Sheikh said the goodwill gesture follows the Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz's meeting with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on 30 August in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

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