Israel issued nearly 10,600 travel bans against West Bank Palestinians in 2021, figures from the Israeli Ministry of Defence’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (Cogat) have revealed.
Released following a freedom of information request made by Israeli human rights organisation HaMoked, the figures show that Israel barred 10,594 Palestinians from travelling abroad due to security reasons. The figure takes into account Palestinians who had travel bans imposed on them and not those denied travel at the borders.
Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are not allowed to use Israel’s airport to travel and instead have to use the King Hussein Bridge (Allenby Bridge) to Jordan as their gateway to the outside world. To do this they have to go through three immigration officers: a Palestinian Authority officer, an Israeli and a Jordanian.
Though high, the number is significantly lower than the number of bans issued in 2017 when 13,937 Palestinians were affected.
HaMoked said that in some cases, Israeli officers have asked Palestinians to sign a form declaring that they would “refrain from terrorism”.”It is clear from this that this restriction, which severely violates the right to freedom of movement, is imposed lightly and arbitrarily,” Jessica Montell, the executive director for HaMoked, said.