Israel's ID System Tears Palestinian Woman Away From Her Children

Since Ibtisam Abid was never granted residency status by Israel, she has been deported to the West Bank and separated from her husband and three children.

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One woman's separation from her family shows how Israel's discriminatory ID system affects life of Palestinians under illegal military occupation.

After living for nearly 17 years in Isawiyah in the embattled East Jerusalem, Ibtisam Abid, 37, has been deported to the West Bank, where she was born, Haaretz reports.

Abid is married to Vasim, 40, who was born in Jerusalem. He has a blue Israeli ID card and so does his three children Nayef, 14, Mohammed, 13, and Emira, 12. His wife was not able to get one, Haaretz reports, for two main reasons; a) some of her distant relatives are allegedly associated with Hamas and b) Vasim spent five years in an Israeli prison for "security offenses," which could mean anything; from stone-throwing to enlisting in a terrorist organization.

So, if Abid failed to get an Israeli ID card, how did she manage to live there for 17 years?

Abid usually applied for a request to visit Jerusalem, once in every three months, and she used to get a week's permit. The she would go to visit her family in Al-Amari, a refugee settlement in Ramallah, West Bank. To get back to Jerusalem, she would use her permit.

She managed to do this for over a decade until this year.

What exactly happened?

According to the Haaretz report, Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, tried to recruit Vasim as an informant. When that didn't happen, they deported Abid.

The family's tragic case also brings to light how Israel's ID system has made it difficult for Palestinians to move in the military-occupied territories.

Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are restricted to certain areas.

Israel issues differently colored IDs to Palestinians in the occupied territories. For instance, those living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip have green IDs, which are generally issued at the age of 16. Meanwhile, Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Israel have blue IDs. The difference is that for those with blue ID cards, freedom of movement isn't as restricted as for those with green ones.

The ID system affects the family structure as well. If a Palestinian in Gaza wishes to marry someone in the West Bank, they cannot move to there, Al Jazeera noted while citing Miriam Marmur, the international communications coordinator for the Israeli human rights group, Gisha. Children can only be registered with one parent.

In Abid's case, until her three children didn't receive ID numbers under their father's name, they didn't have medical insurance, Haaretz noted. They would get prescriptions using Vasim's ID.

Meanwhile, the Israeli-Jewish population enjoys complete privileges of citizenship and has complete freedom of movement.

For now, Abid is living in the West Bank, torn away from her children and her husband. Vasim has only been able to visit her once since her deportation in March.

“I am a Jerusalemite,” he told Haaretz. “I was born here. My family and friends are here. My children were born here. The children’s school is here. Their HMO clinic is here. My whole life exists here. It’s like a fish in water: If you take it out of the water, it will die.”

Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters

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