As Israeli Interior Minister Sharansky continues to give press statements promising a halt of the Israeli policy of ID card confiscation from Palestinian Jerusalemites, lawyers and human rights activists have not yet been able to obtain concrete and binding information about the way in which the Israeli government will handle Palestinian residency rights in the occupied city in the future. This and the fact, that the Interior Ministry has refrained from presenting its official response to the Israeli Supreme Court - overdue since September 1999 in the framework of the pending public petition against the policy of ID card confiscation -suggests that the Israeli political leadership has not yet reached a consensus on the new policy and procedures.

In the meantime, ID card confiscation from Palestinian Jerusalemites continues, although apparently at a somewhat lower rate than in the past. According to the new data released by the Interior Ministry's spokesperson to Ha'aretz journalist Amira Hass, 394 ID cards were confiscated between January - 17 October 1999. Of these ID cards, 121 were revoked because their holders had moved to the West Bank and Gaza Strip outside the Israeli defined municipal borders of the city, and 273 were found living abroad.

ID Card Confiscation: January - 17 October 1999 

January 68
February 86
March 28
April 27
May 73
June 55
July 27
August 12
September 17
October 1-17 1
Total 394

Comparison with Previous Years 
1995 91
1996 739
1997 1067
1998 788
1999 (up to 17-10) 394
Total 3079
(i.e. approximately 12,376 Palestinians directly affected by the Israeli policy of ID card confiscation) 

NOTE: Original figures provided by the Interior Ministry (see past issue of Majdal) for the first 4 months of 1999 are 127 while the new figures are 209.