Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip have reported that 100,000 passport applications submitted to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank have yet to be processed – although it is unclear whether the delay lies with the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority or with the Israeli officials who require approval of each passport issued to Palestinians.The few Gazan passport applications that have been approved have been those of members of the Fatah party, which runs the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank with Israeli approval. The rival Hamas party, which is condemned by Israel, runs the Palestinian Authority in the Gaza Strip after having been elected by the Palestinian people in 2006.
All Palestinian passport applications, whether from the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, have to be approved by the Israeli occupying authorities, who maintain long ‘watchlists’ of Palestinians – most of whom have done nothing wrong.
Because of the Israeli disapproval of the Palestinian people’s choice of the Hamas party to run the Palestinian Authority during 2006 elections, Israeli authorities pressured the Palestinians to accept an unelected government of Israeli-picked leaders from the Fatah party. After being deposed of their rightfully won election Hamas took governance of the Gaza Strip by force. This has left the Palestinian Authority with two parallel governments, one in the West Bank and one in the Gaza Strip – neither of these governments have any real power, however, as Israeli occupying forces have full control over entry and exit, internal travel, land sea and air space, and issuance of IDs, licenses and passports.