The Israeli military has issued a new ruling that would allow the mass deportation of Palestinians from the occupied West Bank.
According to the Israeli media, the new order considers anyone caught in the West Bank who does not hold an Israeli permit to enter and reside in the area as an "infiltrator."
The order, which is due to come into effect on Tuesday, would automatically turn tens of thousands of Palestinians into criminal offenders liable to be severely punished.
They could face seven years in prison and would also have to pay the cost of their expulsion from the West Bank — most probably to the Gaza Strip.
The first Palestinians likely to be targeted under the new ruling would be those whose ID cards bear home addresses in the Gaza Strip. Also likely to be targeted are foreign-born spouses of Palestinians.
Israeli media outlets have reported that the generality and ambiguity of the ruling’s language may give it a status to be also applied to Palestinian residents of Jerusalem al-Quds.
In addition, the new order puts those found guilty under the sole jurisdiction of Israeli military courts.
Meanwhile, 10 Israeli human rights groups have called on Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak to rescind the new ruling.