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Israel Approves 442 Palestinian Reunification Requests in West Bank, Gaza

Israel Approves 442 Palestinian Reunification Requests in West Bank, Gaza

Tuesday, 12 October, 2021 - 07:00
Palestinian men walk past closed shops in the West Bank city of Hebron. (AFP file photo)

Israel on Monday approved 442 reunification requests submitted by Palestinian families in the West Bank and Gaza, as part of 5,000 requests that Tel Aviv had permitted in August to strengthen the Palestinian Authority.

Head of the General Authority of Civil Affairs Hussein Al-Sheikh announced receiving the first mass approval of family reunification requests, including legalizing the status of 442 undocumented Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza.

In a statement, Al-Sheikh said the group consists of Palestinians whose families failed to register them before they turned 16.

The Israeli move follows an understanding reached in August with Palestinians to reexamine the family reunification files of Palestinians for the first time in 12 years.

Al-Sheikh said Palestinians whose requests were approved by Israel, should head to the offices of the Civil Affairs to complete procedures for receiving their identity cards.

In August, al-Sheikh announced that Israel agreed to approve 5,000 family unification requests filed by Palestinians.

The announcement was made a day after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Israeli Defense Ministry Benny Gantz, the first such public meeting between high-level Israeli and Palestinian officials in over a decade.

On Monday, Palestinians were seen flocking to the Civil Affairs offices to receive their identity cards, following years of delays.

Over the years, thousands of Palestinians had filed requests to the Civil Affairs offices to legalize their documents, either as family reunification, in which Palestinians return spouses and children from abroad to the West Bank and Gaza, or to change their official address from Gaza to the West Bank, or for failing to register by the age of 16.

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