RAMALLAH, Jan. 20 (JMCC) - International organizations working with Palestinians are facing new Israeli measures that will restrict their work, reports Haaretz.
International organizations have been informed that they will no longer be eligible for Israeli work visas, being granted instead long-term tourist visas. These visas will be attained through the ministry of defense and military officials in the occupied territories.
Those who have applied for the new visas report facing difficulties.
Aid workers believe the change in policy is intended to force them to restrict their work to areas under Palestinian Authority administration, and prevent them from working in area C and East Jerusalem.
The organizations were officially notified of the change in policy in mid-December by Israeli officials. The move comes in an atmosphere that aid workers say is increasingly hostile to their work, reports the Times Online.
The move came amid pressure from right-wing Israeli groups to crack down on non-governmental organisations, which are often seen as having a political, anti-Israeli bias. Early last year an Israeli group, NGO monitor, forced the New York-based Human Rights Watch to suspend a weapons specialist who had written a scathing report on Israel’s use of white phosphorus during its Gaza offensive. The group tracked down anonymous comments that the researcher had made on online discussions for collectors of Nazi memorabilia.