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New Book Says Israeli Census 'Denationalizes' Palestinians

Dalia Hatuqa reviews a new book, Unfree in Palestine, which discusses how Israel deploys the census to disenfranchise Palestinians.
Palestinians show their ID cards to Israeli police inside a bus in Jerusalem August 12, 2004. Investigators were still examining if members of a militant cell which bombed a West Bank checkpoint Wednesday were still at large. The blast killed two Palestinians and wounded 16 people. REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen  GCM/SM - RTR8GY0

In the pursuit of retaining as much land with as few Palestinians on it as possible, the government of Israel has historically engaged in various measures to dispossess the residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The systemic nature of these efforts is detailed in a new book published by Nadia Abu Zahra, a Palestinian who lives and teaches in Canada, and Adah Kay, a British Jew, who reveal that this practice has long been used by Israeli authorities — with gargantuan ramifications.

Between 1967 and 1994, Israel revoked the residency of some quarter million Palestinians from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In 2011, the Israeli Ministry of Interior revoked the residency status of 101 Palestinians from East Jerusalem. These are summaries of some residency cases documented by HaMoked, an Israeli rights group established against the backdrop of the First Intifada. In addition to various human rights violations, the group documents cases of Palestinians affected by Israel’s regular practice of revoking residency rights, especially from those living in East Jerusalem.

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