Press Releases

(16 June 1999) ID Card Confiscation in Jerusalem: Official Israeli Figures Released for 1999

16 June 1999 
BADIL Resource Center  

According to information provided by the spokesperson of the Israeli Interior Ministry in Jerusalem to Ha’aretz journalist Ameera Hass, Israel confiscated 117 ID cards from Palestinian Jerusalemites between 1 January – 31 May 1999. No additional details were given. 

A comparison with previous years shows the following development since the onset of the Israeli policy of massive ID card confiscation in Jerusalem: 

Year ID Cards Confiscation
1996 689
1997 606
1998 788*
1999 (1-5) 177
Total 2,200**

*(618 ID cards of Palestinians living abroad; 170 ID cards of Palestinians living in the West Bank)  
**2,200 ID cards (families) or roughly 8,800 individuals. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, an average Palestinian family in the West Bank includes 5.7 members. However, available details about Palestinian families affected by the Israeli policy of ID card confiscation suggest that families living abroad represent a major portion of the cases; reliable data about their average size are not available. This is why we prefer to use the conservative estimate of 4 persons per family. 


Although the new data suggest that the number of ID cards confiscated in 1999 is smaller than in pervious years, it is still too early to draw a definite conclusion. This because analysis of the pattern of previous years shows that the bulk of ID card confiscations occurs during the summer, when Palestinians working and living abroad come to visit their families in Jerusalem (For example, 346 ID card confiscations were recorded by the Ministry in the first eight months of 1998, while four months later, in December, the number of confiscations stood at 788). 

The data released for 1999 also shows that Israel continues to violate the residency rights of the native Palestinian population in Jerusalem, despite local and international protest and the fact that the Israeli high court is expected to present its ruling on the policy of ID card confiscation in September or October this year. 

BADIL calls upon all those concerned with the protection of international law and justice, especially organizations and individuals who have been actively involved in the public Campaign to End ID Card Confiscation in the spring of this year, to continue to raise local and international awareness and pressure against this Israeli policy. ID card confiscation in Jerusalem is a measure of administrative ethnic cleansing which preempts the outcome of the final status negotiations with the PLO. Ethnic cleansing is being rejected in the case of Yugoslavia – it must be rejected also in Palestine!