Israeli Rules Says West Bank Visitors Must Declare Love Interest

Foreigners must tell the Israeli defence ministry if they fall in love with a Palestinian in the occupied West Bank, according to new rules.

If they marry, they will be required to leave after 27 months for a cooling-off period of at least half a year.

It is part of a tightening of rules on foreigners living in, or wanting to visit, the West Bank.

Palestinians and Israeli NGOs have accused Israel of “taking restrictions to a new level”.

The new rules are due to come into force on Monday.

The regulations laid out in a lengthy document include a demand on foreigners to inform the Israeli authorities within 30 days of starting a relationship with a Palestinian ID holder.

New restrictions on Palestinian universities include a quota for 150 student visas and 100 foreign lecturers, while there are no such limits in Israeli ones.

Businesspeople and aid organisations say they will also be severely affected. The rules set strict limitations on the duration of visas and visa extensions, in many cases preventing people from working or volunteering in the West Bank for longer than a few months.

“This is about demographic engineering of Palestinian society and isolating Palestinian society from the outside world,” says Jessica Montell, executive director of the Israeli non-governmental organisation HaMoked, which has petitioned the Israeli High Court against the regulations.

“They make it much more difficult for people to come and work in Palestinian institutions, volunteer, invest, teach and study.”

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