Gershon Baskin deals with issue of Palestinian residents of the territories who hold foreign passports and are being denied the right to remain in their homes.
At the urging of IPCRI, the Interior Committee of the Knesset will hold a public hearing on the issue of Palestinian residents of the territories who hold foreign passports and are being denied the right to remain in their homes.
Two members of Knesset enlisted by IPCRI, Ephraim Sneh (Labour party faction leader) and Avigdor Yitzhaki (Kadima faction leader and coalition whip) have agreed to work on resolving this issue.
The best solution is for the Palestinian Ministry of Interior to have to right to issue these Palestinian residents of the territories identity cards and Palestinian passports.
That would be a recognition of reality and would end the charade of issuing them tourist visas. Thousands of people have been living in the territories for years having to leave the area every three months to renew their visas. They have built homes, families and businesses. They overwhelmingly represent moderate political views and have been central in supporting peace with Israel.
The issue also relates to thousands of non-Palestinian foreign citizens who are spouses of Palestinian residents of the territories, they too are being denied the right of re-entry into the territories and over the past months their families have been torn apart by this harsh policy of denying them the right to live in their homes.
This is not an issue of “right of return” – these people are not asking to be residents of the State of Israel.
They live in Palestine and they wish to continue to live there.
IPCRI is taking a key role in leading the behind the scenes aspects of the campaign and will continue to do so until a positive resolution is found and implemented.
Gershon is an advisor to Israeli, Palestinian and International Prime Ministers on the Middle East Peace Process and the founder and director of IPCRI, the Israeli-Palestinian Public Policy Institute. He was the initiator and negotiator of the secret back channel between Israel and Hamas for the release of 1,027 prisoners – mainly Palestinians and Arab-Israelis of which 280 were sentenced to life in prison for planning and perpetrating various attacks against Jewish targets that resulted in the killing of 569 Israelis in exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Schalit. Gershon is actively involved in research and advocacy concerning topics such as social policy, environmental security, political strategy, peace education, economics, culture and in the development of affordable solar projects with the goal of providing clean electricity for 50 million people by 2020.