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Visitors to West Bank must inform Israel of any love interests with Palestinians

Foreigners who visit the occupied West Bank must inform Israel's Defence Ministry if they fall in love with a Palestinian, according to new rules.

Foreigners who visit the occupied West Bank must inform Israel's Defence Ministry if they fall in love with a Palestinian, according to new rules.

The new rules which take effect from tomorrow do not apply to those visiting the illegal Israeli settlements. The new rulebook drafted by COGAT, the Defence Ministry body concerned with Palestinian civil affairs has already been delayed twice following legal challenges.

According to BBC News, if a couple decide to marry, they will be required to leave after 27 months to allow a cooling-off period of at least half a year. The controversial move is part of a tightening of rules on foreigners living in or waiting to visit the occupied Palestinian territories.

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Additionally, the rules stipulate that if the relationship starts after a foreigner arrives in the West Bank, the couple must notify Israeli authorities within 30 days of their engagement, wedding, or the start of cohabitation — "whichever occurs first."

"A foreigner married to a resident of the Area, or forming a couple with one, must proceed to make arrangements… before arriving at the Area. If the relationship starts after the foreigner arrived at the Area, then the authorized COGAT official must be informed in writing within 30 days of the relationship's start. At the same time, an application must be submitted to the Palestinian Authority for formalizing the status"

Jessica Montell the executive director of the Israeli non-governmental organisation HaMoked, which has petitioned the Israeli High Court against the regulations was quoted by the BBC as saying: "This is about demographic engineering of Palestinian society and isolating Palestinian society from the outside world."

"They make it much more difficult for people to come and work in Palestinian institutions, volunteer, invest, teach and study."

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