I met a number of Western aid workers in Israel who wondered about this new Israeli policy:
In an echo of restrictions already firmly in place in Gaza, Israel has begun barring movement between Israel and the West Bank for anyone holding a foreign passport, including humanitarian aid workers and thousands of Palestinian residents.
The new policy is designed to force foreign citizens to choose between visiting Israel, including East Jerusalem, which Israel has annexed illegally, and the West Bank. In most cases, travel between the two areas will no longer be possible.
The new regulation is in breach of Israel’s commitments under the Oslo accords to western governments that their citizens would be given continued access to the occupied territories.
Israel, which controls the population register for both Israelis and Palestinians, has not suggested there are any security justifications for the new restriction.
Human rights groups complain that the rule change will further separate East Jerusalem, the planned capital of a Palestinian state, from the West Bank. It is also expected to add to the pressures on families where one member holds a foreign passport to leave the region and disrupt the assistance aid organisations are able to give Palestinians.