From: Inside Story

Israel denies NGOs work permit

What is the future of foreign NGOs operating in the occupied territories?

The Israeli Interior Ministry has stopped granting work permits to foreigners working to most of the international NGOs operating in the territories.

In the past week alone, 3 Oxfam staffers (with foreign passports) were given tourist visas barring them from working in Israel. That means they can not work in most of the West Bank, including Jerusalem.

Many NGOs have offices in East Jerusalem and most of their work is with Palestinians living in Israeli-controlled areas, including Gaza. It is the latest in a series of steps to constrain the movement of foreign nationals in the occupied Palestinian territories and effectively means many humanitarians are now working illegally in the territories.

Why this change in Israeli policy, and what is the future of foreign aid organizations operating in the occupied territories?

Inside Story discusses with guests: Anne Herzberg, a legal advisor, NGO Monitor, Shlomo Lecker, a lawyer, and Mustafa Barghouti, the head of Palestinian National Initiative.

This edition of Inside Story aired from Tuesday, February 9, 2010.