The amount of debts owed by Palestinian Authority (PA) residents in court cases and in Ho’tzaot L’Poel (The authority to collect fines) has reached more than half a billion shekels, which led Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to submit an amendment to prevent entry of Palestinian debtors to Israel.
It should be noted that the amount relates only to reported debts, and it is estimated that the amount of debts not reported amounts to more than NIS 2.5 billion. The amendment will be submitted for approval on Sunday, 6 Teves.
In the present situation, the procedure for preventing the entry of debtors into Israel has encountered difficulties, inter alia, due to the lack of cooperation of the PA. Today, a governmental authority and a creditor may apply to the Legal Aid Commissioner in the Ministry of Justice to prevent the entry of a debtor from the PA territories, if the debtor has not submitted a request to be tried at the end of the payment date specified in the report. It is emphasized that the date specified in the warning has indeed passed and been ignored.
In the event that the specified conditions are met, the Director-General of the Ministry of Justice informs the Civil Administration and the District Coordination Office of the inclusion of the debtor’s name in the list of debtors transferred to the PA representative together with an alert, that he has 30 days to pay the debt to avoid being banned from entering ‘Israel proper’.
After the staff work carried out by an inter-ministerial committee, it was decided to make major changes to the existing procedure. Instead of transferring the names of the debtors to the representative of the PA, they will notify the debtor at his request to enter Israel on the existing debt and he will have to settle the debt within 30 days before his final entry into Israel is prevented.
If the debtor does not have a current permit to enter Israel, his application for an entry permit to Israel will be refused and he will receive the information about the debt and the manner in which it can be arranged. In case of non-payment of the debt, the warning will become a refusal to enter.
In addition, the procedure will also apply to residents of Area C, as well as to the debts of the Palestinian residents to the sovereign in Judea and Samaria, due to the difference between the areas of activity and the patterns of activity therein (the sovereign territory of the State of Israel and Yehuda and Shomron). The implementation of the procedure with respect to debts to the regional authorities will be carried out by a legal officer in the Yehuda and Shomron areas.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)