Gaza Strip: Information on whether a person born in the Gaza Strip in 1964 who left Gaza after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and who holds an Egyptian travel document is entitled to certain rights in the Gaza Strip, including the right to residency
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 August 1994|
|Citation / Document Symbol||ZZZ17805.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Gaza Strip: Information on whether a person born in the Gaza Strip in 1964 who left Gaza after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and who holds an Egyptian travel document is entitled to certain rights in the Gaza Strip, including the right to residency, 1 August 1994, ZZZ17805.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ac1074.html [accessed 8 March 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
During a telephone interview on 8 August 1994, a legal officer of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in Vienna provided the following information on the above subject.
Israel conducted a census in the Gaza Strip after it was occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Palestinians who left the Gaza Strip prior to that census have no record of residence with the Israeli authorities and are not considered to be Gaza residents. Those who were registered as residents at the time of census and later left Gaza to reside abroad are permitted to return to Gaza if they have kept their residence validated. To keep their residence documents up to date Palestinians must return to Gaza on a regular basis. The legal officer is not certain whether these persons must return every year or every other year. Palestinians with no residency rights are not entitled to other rights, such as the right to work, in Gaza.
The recent PLO-Israeli agreement on the Gaza Strip includes a family reunification programme that allows the return of Gaza Palestinians who have left the region. However, this programme is "deliberately" vague as it does not clearly specify who is permitted to return to the Gaza Strip. The PLO and Israel are still in the process of negotiation and have not yet reached a definite agreement on this issue. As a result of the uncertainty created by the recent PL0-Israeli agreement, the legal officer is unable to comment on the status of a Palestinian born in the Gaza Strip in 1964 who left Gaza after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and who holds an Egyptian travel document.
Israel still controls exit and entrance to the Gaza Strip. Palestinians who have no residence right in the Gaza Strip or who lost it because they did not keep it validated can apply to Israeli authorities for residence in Gaza. Such applications will be examined on a case-by-case basis.
Palestinians residing in the occupied territories, including the Gaza Strip, are not considered to be citizens of any country. With the exception of those who have acquired the citizenship of other countries, such people are only considered to be residents of the occupied territories.
A representative of the embassy of Israel in Ottawa provided the following information on the above subject during a telephone interview on 8 August 1994.
The PLO and Israel have reached an agreement on the return of Gaza Palestinians to the Gaza Strip, but the "complete agreement" is not yet in force. Both sides are still negotiating on who should be permitted to benefit from this agreement. Although he is unaware of the specifics of the agreement and the number of Palestinians who can return to the Gaza Strip, the representative states that there is an agreement on the number of such persons. According to the representative, the criteria included in the recent agreement are in addition to the above-mentioned criteria for residence in the Gaza Strip; in other words, those already considered to be Gaza residents have not lost their residence status.
Under this agreement, Gaza Palestinians who wish to return to the Gaza Strip must make application to the Palestinian authorities, who will forward such applications to the Israeli authorities for consideration on a case-by-case basis. Upon approval of the Israeli authorities the successful applicants will be permitted to return to Gaza.
The Gaza Strip is considered to be an autonomous region within Israeli-controlled territories. Although its civil affairs are run by Palestinians, Israel is still in charge of security and diplomatic affairs in Gaza. Israel controls the borders of the Gaza Strip and also controls the exit and entrance of people to this region.
Residents of the Gaza Strip are considered to be the citizens of the autonomous Palestinian region. The Palestinian authorities are authorized to issue travel documents to Palestinian Gaza residents.
The representative is unable to comment on the status of the above-mentioned Palestinian who left Gaza after the 1967 Arab-Israeli war because, according to the PLO-Israel agreement, Israel considers applications for residence in the Gaza Strip on a case-by-case basis.
This response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Embassy of the State of Israel, Ottawa. 8 August 1994. Telephone interview with representative.
United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Vienna. 8 August 1994. Telephone interview with legal officer.