Israel grants Palestinians in West Bank 1,000 identification cards

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RAMALLAH, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Israeli authorities have granted 1,000 Palestinians living in the West Bank Palestinian identification cards, allowing them to continue living without fear of being deported, a Palestinian minister said on Wednesday.

The move "came in light of the understandings on Aug. 30, 2021 between the Palestinian and Israeli sides which allowed the resumption of work on these family reunification applications for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip," said the official Palestinian news agency WAFA, citing Hussein al-Sheikh, Palestinian minister of civil affairs.

The minister said that his office could get Israel to approve the applications for citizenship and will continue to follow up on thousands of other names sent to the Israeli side.

The applications included requests for identity cards and the issue of changing addresses between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, he said.

Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are claimed by the Palestinians, in the 1967 Middle East war, and has controlled them ever since.

Israel has full authority over issuing Palestinian ID cards and passports, said a Palestinian official, adding that Israel had stopped processing requests for Palestinian family reunification since 2009.

"Thousands of Palestinians had been left without legal status and unable to travel or access healthcare, jobs, education, or the legal system, including for divorces," an official said.

Many avoid traveling from one town to the next for fear of facing arrest at Israeli military checkpoints where their IDs are checked. Enditem

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