Palestinian legal experts explained the options available to foreign nationals in light of Israel’s refusal to permit them to access to the Palestinian areas, said a news release published by the Right to Enter Campaign, on Wednesday.

Hundreds of foreign nationals packed into Al-Bireh Municipality Hall on Tuesday responding to a call from the Right to Enter Campaign.

The audience was full of families with children, fearful that they will be forced to separate within days. 
{mosimage}Al-Bireh Deputy and Acting Mayor Omar Hamayel made a clear appeal that the Israeli policy of denying access to Palestinians who are foreign nationals be called ethnic cleansing.  Attorney Abdallah Hammad from the Jerusalem Legal Affairs Center and Attorney Muhammad Dahleh discussed collective and individual actions that can be considered by those affected by Israel's de-facto deportation of residents of the Palestinian areas.

The residents affected by this policy are those who carry international passports and those who applied for family unification which allows them for permanent residency.  These families apply to Israel for family unifications through the Palestinian Authority, which gives Israel the upper hand in deciding whether this or that Palestinian family will be allowed to stay in Palestine or not.

The news release said, “Israel has closed this door and created a reality where the Palestinian population is being forced from their homes. The final result of Israel's practice could be the emptying of over 500,000 Palestinians from the occupied cities of Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus and others in a very short time as Palestinian residents leave to keep their families together.“

Atty. Dahleh noted that the proper legal reference for the issue lies in International Humanitarian and Human Rights Law.

Meanwhile, Basil Ayish, spokesperson for the Campaign, noted that although the event was looking into legal options for affected families that are faced with forced separation, the issue is ultimately a political one, and that victims of Israel's practice should take all measures to protest this action with the country of their citizenship.

The Campaign also stated that more than 80 percent of the latest Israeli denials for visa extensions are U.S. citizens.

The questions and comments of those in the audience articulated frustration and anger at their respective foreign governments and to the Palestinian Authority for not taking more concrete steps to immediately resolve this issue or at least raise it to a level of public debate.