Israel’s immigration police have been granted the power to remove foreigners without permits from the occupied West Bank, Haaretz newspaper reported on Friday.
According to the report, the head of the Israeli army’s Central Command has granted the interior ministry’s enforcement arm the power to arrest foreigners who have outstayed their visa in a bid rein in foreign pro-Palestinian activists.
The order was signed on July 6, the paper said.
Until now, Israel has struggled to find a way to apprehend activists in the West Bank.
“Many illegal residents within Israel choose to come to the Judaea and Samaria area to work,” an army statement said in response, using the biblical term for the West Bank.
“In the past, the (interior ministry’s Population and Migration Authority) had no enforcement power over these workers.
“According to the new order, inspectors will be authorised to transfer the illegal residents into the boundaries of the State of Israel, where the regular enforcement procedures will proceed, as per Israeli law,” it said.
“The status of these illegal residents will be identical to the status of illegal residents found during routine enforcement in Israel.”
The army noted that the inspectors “will not be allowed to enter a (Palestinian) place of residence without the appropriate warrant signed by a military judge admitted to a committee on the matter of exclusion from the Judaea and Samaria region.”
Last month, the immigration police began a nationwide crackdown on the estimated 60,000 illegal African migrants living in Israel.