Watch “Love Under Occupation”: a short film by Mondoweiss & educational resources
Watch “Love Under Occupation,” a short film by Mondoweiss about a fictional Palestinian-and-foreigner couple taking the next big step in their relationship, and then read on to learn how Israeli apartheid regulations impact Palestinian people, their partners, and their families.
In October 2022 a new set of Israeli regulations went into effect, severely restricting the ability of tens of thousands of foreigners, and Palestinians with foreign passports, to enter and reside in the occupied West Bank.
The “Procedure for entry and residence of foreigners in the Judea and Samaria area” took effect on October 20th, and in 90 pages, it lays out a draconian set of rules and restrictions that apply only to foreigners visiting the West Bank for the purpose of meeting Palestinians in any capacity.
Written and enforced by Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the regulations apply to foreigners seeking to enter the West Bank for the purpose of business, education, humanitarian work, and even visiting family.
It subjects these categories of foreigners to increased scrutiny by Israeli officials, disqualifies them from receiving a multitude of visas and permits, and gives Israel the ultimate power to approve or deny their entry into the territory.
Among the hundreds of thousands of people who are going to be affected under these new rules, the people who stand to be affected most are Palestinians and their loved ones: those with foreign spouses or partners, or with family living abroad.
Earlier versions of the regulations were blasted for certain stipulations regarding Palestinians and their romantic partnerships. One rule stipulated that foreigners who entered into a relationship with a Palestinian in the West Bank would have to declare it to the Israeli government within 30 days of said relationship’s start, if they wanted to qualify for a visa or visa extension.
Following heavy backlash, COGAT released a revised, final version of the document in September, which walked back on some of the more widely-criticized rules. But the discriminatory essence of the regulations, and many of the original draconian restrictions, remained in place.
Under the new procedures, the categories of foreigners who will be allowed to receive visitor visas to enter the West Bank have shrunk dramatically, and the process to receive a visitor’s visa or extended stay permit have become even more difficult.
In addition to affecting visiting students, university professors, business people, tourists, artists, humanitarian workers and more, the new restrictions will have the most devastating effects on Palestinian families.
Tourist visas to visit family in the West Bank are limited to spouses and “immediate” relatives, meaning that grandparents, grandchildren, uncles, in-laws, and even romantic partners who carry foreign passports or live abroad would be denied entry, including those who were born in the oPt.
The regulations also lay out a strict set of rules that apply to the foreign spouses of Palestinians, preventing them from receiving long term visas unless they meet a list of stringent requirements set out by Israeli authorities.
For those who are not yet married to Palestinians, but are romantically involved, the new procedures say foreigners in relationships with Palestinians must still inform Israeli authorities of their relationship if they wish to apply for an entry visa, or visa renewal.
At the end of the day, however, the procedures state that even if applicants meet all the requirements set out by Israeli authorities, Israel is not obligated to approve their requests.
The most notable aspect of the new regulations is that it only applies to foreigners visiting Palestinians in the West Bank. It does not apply to the hundreds of thousands of Israeli settlers living illegally in the territory, their foreign spouses, partners, or family members.
Human rights groups like HaMoked and Right To Enter Campaign say these new restrictions will have devastating effects on Palestinian family life, and contribute to the further isolation of Palestinian society from the outside world.
To learn more about how these restrictions have affected real Palestinian families, you can read these testimonials:
- “New rules make foreign visitors to West Bank declare romantic ties to Palestinians”
- “IN THEIR OWN WORDS: People affected speak out about Israeli military’s proposed entry procedures to West Bank”
If you or your family are affected by these new regulations, you can fill out this confidential questionnaire by HaMoked, which helps the organization to track the effects of the new regulations. If you have been denied entry to the West Bank, you can follow these steps on the Right to Enter website to report your case.
To follow the news for more updates on these procedures, and the effects they will have on Palestinian families, follow Mondoweiss and the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.
SHARE THE FILM
Share the film and this resources page with supporters, both in-person and online. You can host a screening of the film in your local Palestine solidarity group, student group, faith community, or other activism/educational space. Discuss the film and use it to mobilize your base to fight anti-Palestinian racism and oppression.
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No relationships were harmed in the making of this video. But they will be soon. #LoveUnderOccupation
Under new Israeli restrictions on foreign entry into the West Bank, foreigners romantically involved with Palestinians must declare their relationship to the occupying Israeli government.
Learn more here: uscpr.org/LoveUnderOccupation