Historically, the entity authorized to permit the entrance of foreign nationals into Israel is, in accordance with the Entry to Israel Law of 1952, the Minister of the Interior. However, de-facto the entity in charge of Palestinian residents' entry into Israel has always been the military commander of Judea & Samaria (hereinafter: "the area").
In the past this delegation of authority, to the military commander, was permitted in accordance with an exemption granted by the Minister of the Interior (article 17(b) of the entry to Israel law) to residents of the area, carrying an entry permit, signed by the area's military commander. In 1972 a general exemption was granted to all residents of the area, allowing all residents to leave Judea & Samaria freely. However, this exemption was cancelled in 1991.
The Temporary Order
In 2003, with the enactment of the Citizenship and Entry into Israel (temporary order) Law of 2003, (Hereinafter: "the Law"), the area's military commander received the direct authority to grant an 'entry to Israel' permit to a resident of the area.
While in general the Law restricted the military commander from providing permits due to security legislation, article 3b of the Law provides for certain exemptions to this rule, such as: medical treatment, work in Israel or a temporary requirement of up to 6 months. However, article 3d of the Law states that under no circumstance will a permit be granted if the military commander believes, based on security intelligence, that the person, or a member of their family, may pose a risk to Israel's security.
As a general rule the Palestinian residents of the area, as foreign nationals, have no automatic right to enter Israel. This legal viewpoint has been affirmed, many times, by both the Israeli High Court of Justice and by the court of administrative matters (for instance see: HCJ 7475/05 Caavnah v. The West Bank IDF Military Commander; HCJ 2875/06 Koezvah v. The Minister of Defense).
However, in order to provide relief to the Palestinian civilians of the area, every year, the military commander issues many Palestinian residents 'entry to Israel' permits, for a variety of reasons. These reasons include, work, trade, medical treatment, participation in legal proceedings, family visits, trips and vacations, religious needs such as Friday prayers in Jerusalem, criminal visitation and others.