One of the key mechanisms of control by Israeli authorities is the issuing of ID status. Throughout the territory, an individual’s rights and freedoms are dictated by where they were born. Palestinians with Israeli citizenship — often referred to as “Arab Israelis” and who make up 20% of the Israeli population — face institutional discrimination. Though, they do have a better deal than Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza, who are often confined to these occupied territories. Those from East Jerusalem can travel more freely, but if they move out of the city their status can be easily revoked.
That means that for Palestinians — even those that live in the areas that some might see as Palestinian territory — Israel controls some of the most basic aspects of life. In the West Bank, Israeli authorities have total or partial control over 82% of the territory, giving the Palestinian Authority jurisdiction only over the 18% called Area A. But even in this space, Israel takes the reins. It controls most of the West Bank’s water, for example, and even collects taxes on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. And crucially, Israel has the sole power to grant citizenship and residency status across the whole territory.
"When I go abroad, people I meet think Israel and Palestine are two separate lands," Ramzi Jaber, co-founder of Visualizing Palestine, told PolicyMic. "But that’s not the case. It’s one single border that’s controlled by a single authority. It’s one single currency, Israeli Shekels. It’s practically one economy, a captive economy with 70% of Palestinian imports coming from, and 86% of exports going to, Israel. Most importantly of all, there’s one single population registry controlled by Israel’s Ministry of Interior.”
The contiguity between what the world sees as Israel and Palestine being is blurred further all the time. In 2012, the UN estimated more than 500,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem — areas that are supposedly under negotiation as territory for the future Palestinian state. And that number only continues to grow. In 2013, the rate of Israeli settlement construction increased by 123%. Like everyone else in the territory, both settlers and Palestinians in those areas live under the same Israeli population registry, but with very different rights.
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