Whether non-residents of Gaza are allowed to study in Gaza; if so, the persons authorized to grant such permission; whether any restrictions were imposed on non-residents returning to study in Gaza in September 2000; and whether a Palestinian born of Palestinian parents in Saudi Arabia and traveling on a two-year temporary Jordanian passport would be allowed to return to Saudi Arabia if the six-month re-entry date had passed and the passport had expired [PAL41270.E]

Information on whether non-residents of Gaza are allowed to study in Gaza could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate within time constraints.

Information on restrictions imposed on non-resident students returning to study in the Gaza Strip in September 2000 could not be found among the sources consulted. However, the following information is relevant.

On 28 September 2000, "a second intifada," which is defined as "collective Palestinian frustration ... against Israeli rule," erupted in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank and continues today (Christian Aid 28 Jan. 2003, 57). During this intifada, "Israel has imposed a closure of international borders, sealing off the Gaza strip and West Bank from Israel, from neighbouring countries, and from occupied east Jerusalem" (Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 18 Mar. 2002). Closure, in this context, is defined by Christian Aid as "[a] system of Israeli checkpoints and roadblocks dividing up the West Bank and Gaza Strip and making the flow of people and trade contingent on Israeli approval" (28 Jan. 2003, 57). According to the Palestinian Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP), Israeli occupation authorities set up "145 new roadblocks with 103 in the West Bank and 42 checkpoints in the Gaza strip" (n.d.). At these checkpoints, "Palestinians are routinely subjected to humiliating and degrading treatment, ... including threats at gunpoint, verbal harassment, invasive body searches, and arbitrary prohibitions on movement" (Palestinian Centre for Human Rights 18 Mar. 2002).

In addition, Israeli forces divided the West Bank into 64 sectors and the Gaza Strip into three parts (PCJP n.d.) - the "northern part, comprising Gaza City and the Jabalya refugee camp, [the] middle part comprising the middle camps, and two southern parts, with Khan Younis and Rafah separated" (Fafo 2001, 22). The PCJP stated that "[t]hese divisions separated Palestinian cities, towns and villages into isolated, easy-to-control cantons totally restraining the movement of Palestinian civilians" (n.d.).

Palestinians needing to travel are required to obtain a permit from the Israeli occupation authorities (valid from 5am to 7pm and must be renewed monthly) to be able to travel between the divisions, between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and to leave the country (Christian Aid 28 Jan. 2003, 57). According to a report prepared by the Norway-based Fafo Institute for Applied Social Science, "[p]eople can only cross between Israel and the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing in the northern part of the strip. Only holders of either a permit issued from Israeli authorities or a foreign passport may cross" (2001, 18). In respect of international travel, the report goes on to state the following:

For those wanting to travel abroad there is the possibility of going through the Erez checkpoint, then boarding a flight at Ben Gurion Airport. The drawback with this procedure is that permits are only issued the day before the flight and it is by no means certain that they will, in fact, be issued. This leaves two other options. Gaza Airport, located in the southern part of the Gaza Strip which in principle has international flights, was either partially or totally closed by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] for 221 out of 273 days in the period from 1 October 2000 to 30 June 2001. Finally, the Rafah border crossing to Egypt is open for international travel, but respondents report travellers from Gaza City using this border-crossing point have been denied re-entry to the Gaza Strip. In contrast, travelers arriving at Tel Aviv airport have apparently not experienced such re-entry problems (Fafo 2001, 19).

Please refer to the appendix listing the closure of crossings since the second intifada began that is attached to Closure Update No. 32, a report prepared by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.

According to information posted on the Website of the Monitoring Israeli Colonizing Activities in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza project, which is a joint project between the Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem (ARIJ) and the Land Research Center (LRC), funded by the European Union (1999),

The partitioning of Gaza into three parts has caused major setbacks for educational institutions and the education of their students. Thousands of students have been unable to reach their schools and hundreds of faculty members and staff of these institutions have been equally unable to reach their workplaces. Most of the universities in the Gaza Strip are located in Gaza City, in the north. But 50% of the students and 60% of the professors are from the southern area of the Strip. The blockades between the north and south pose a critical interference to the education of students and the administration of the schools. Students who go to universities in the West Bank or in other countries are prevented from leaving the Strip due to the external closure. Similarly, students already at universities outside of Gaza are unable to return and see their families (March 2001).

For additional information on the impact of the intifada, please refer to the attached excerpt from Closure Update No. 32.

According to information provided by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, in Ottawa, a Palestinian born of Palestinian parents in Saudi Arabia and traveling on a two-year temporary Jordanian passport is not allowed to return to Saudi Arabia if the six-month re-entry date has passed, and the passport has expired (26 Mar. 2003). Depending on whether the entry/exit visa or travel document expired outside of the country, how long the person has been out of the country and the length of the person's residency permit, an exit/entry visa can be extended if certain requirements are met (Saudi Arabia 26 Mar. 2003). (Please see the attachment from the Embassy for a list of the requirements.) However, the person must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months (ibid.).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References


Christian Aid. 28 January 2003. Losing Ground: Israel, Poverty and the Palestinians. http://www.christianaid.org.uk/indepth/0301isra/losing_ground2.pdf [Accessed 1 Apr. 2003]

Fafo Institute for Applied Social Science. 2001. Jon Pederson, Mona Christophersen and Pal Sletten. Paying a Price: Coping with Closure in Gaza City. (Fafo - Report 371) http://www.fafo.no/pub/rapp/371/371.pdf [Accessed 1 Apr. 2003]

Monitoring Israeli Colonizing Activities in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza. March 2001. Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem and the Land Research Center. "Decline in the Standard of Living in the Gaza Strip: Selected Soci-Economic Indicators." http://www.poica.org/casestudies/gaza-decline [Accessed 1 Apr. 2003]

_____. 1999. Applied Research Institute in Jerusalem and the Land Research Center. "Monitoring Israeli Colonizing activities ... " http://www.poica.org/ [Accessed 1 Apr. 2003]

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. 18 March 2002. "Fact Sheet: Siege and Closure." http://www.pchrgaza.org/facts/fact5.htm [Accessed 1 Apr. 2003]

_____. 25 January 2001. "The Gaza Strip Has Transformed into 'Gaza Strips,' Disasterous Outcomes." Closure Update No. 32. http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/Reports/English/pdf_clouse/clouser32.pdf [Accessed 1 Apr. 2003]

Palestinian Council for Justice and Peace (PCJP). n.d. "Facts and Figures About Israeli Violations from 28 September 2000 - 1 May 2001." http://www.pasti.org/fatti.htm [Accessed 1 Apr. 2003]

Saudi Arabia. 26 March 2003. Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Ottawa. Telephone interview with a clerk, at the request of the Consul.

Attachments


Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. 25 January 2001. "The Gaza Strip Has Transformed into 'Gaza Strips,' Disasterous Outcomes." Closure Update No. 32. http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/Reports/English/pdf_clouse/clouser32.pdf [Accessed 1 Apr. 2003]

Saudi Arabia. 26 March 2003. Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Ottawa. Correspondence.

Additional Sources Consulted


AMIDEAST, in Washington, DC, did not respond to a letter requesting information within time constraints.

The Arab American Institute, in Washington, DC, did not respond to a letter requesting information within time constraints.

NEXIS

World News Connection

Internet sites, including:

Al-Azhar University (in Arabic)

AMIDEAST

BBC

The Electronic Intifada

Foundation for Middle East Peace

Immigration.com

Islamic University of Gaza

IslamOnline.net

The Middle East Research and Information Project

The Palestinian Monitor

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