The question is one of those often overlooked, yet very crucial ones in Israeli politics.
The Palestinians are Israeli citizens, Palestinians are Palestinians, and it is an Israeli right that all Israeli citizens can hold Israeli passports.
In the past, Palestinians who crossed into Israel were asked to leave, but now they are entitled to return, in the form of a special permit, which is issued by the Israeli authorities and issued only after their residency in the occupied territories is ended.
This permit is supposed to be valid for three years.
It has to be renewed every year, and for the past two years, Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been asked to present the document and give their permission to be granted residency permits in Israel.
When it comes to residency permits, Palestinians live in a state of limbo, and when they do apply, they are only granted a temporary permit that is not valid for the duration of the three-year residency permit.
The Palestinians who do not want to renew their permit are allowed to apply to Israel’s High Court, which will hear the case, in a process that will take months.
As of March 2018, Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the West Jerusalem neighborhoods of Nablus and Hebron were living in limbo, awaiting their applications for residency permits to be processed.
This situation is not just a problem in the territories.
In October 2016, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a petition for a temporary residency permit to be issued to a Palestinian family in the Old City of Jerusalem, and in December, the High Court upheld a similar petition in the same case.
The Israeli government’s position in the refugee issue is that any new Palestinian citizens who enter the occupied West Bank should be allowed to return home.
This position is backed up by the Jerusalem municipality’s decision to deny Palestinian citizens residency permits even for the temporary period of time they are allowed.
This policy has been supported by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party.
The majority of Israeli Jews do not support the proposal and have instead decided to vote with their feet.
The situation has not gone unnoticed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which has called on Israel to end the indefinite residency permit for Palestinians in Israel and return them to their homes.
In a recent statement, UNHCR’s chief spokesperson Rima Khalaf said: “We urge Israel to immediately reverse its discriminatory decision and to allow all Palestinians to return to their villages and towns, and to grant them full rights to return. “