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Permit of entry to the “seam zone” for personal needs: the case of AM
documents: 0  |  Updates: 0 In October 2010, AM, a 30 year old carpenter from the village of Zabubah in the district of Jenin, got engaged to KK, who majored in education and lived with her parents in the village of Dhaher al-Malih, which is likewise near Jenin, but on the west side of the separation wall Israel has erected, inside the area it dubs the “seam zone”.

The military has instated a draconian permit regime inside the “seam zone”, whereby, inter alia, every Palestinian who wants to go there must obtain a military permit. Accordingly, a week after the engagement and signing of the marriage contract, AM applied for a permit to enter the “seam zone” for “personal needs”, to allow him to spent time with his fiancée and her family at their home. The military rejected his application without explanation. In November, he applied twice more to enter the “seam zone”, but was denied both times.

In December 2010, HaMoked sent the military a fourth application to issue AM an entry permit for the “seam zone” to allow him to visit his bride-to-be. Some weeks later, the military notified HaMoked that AM should file a new application, this time “an application to receive a permit of entry to the seam zone in order to visit his fiancée”; According to the letter, this was entirely different than applying, as AM had done, “to visit his wife who lives in the seam zone” (emphases in the original).

In its response to the military, HaMoked pointed out the absurdity of rejecting AM’s application simply because the couple was engaged and not married. HaMoked again asked that AM be issued the necessary permit and stated that if the matter was not resolved, it would have to take court action.

In February 2011, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) because the military still refused to let AM visit his fiancée at her home, four months after the engagement. HaMoked stressed that the entire permit regime, and the military’s refusal in AM’s case in particular, severely infringed upon the daily life and the right to free internal movement of the residents of the West Bank. HaMoked added that the military gravely harmed the couple’s natural right to meet and strengthen their mutual ties and their ties with both families; this, in disregard of the military’s legal obligations, the rules of proper governance, and even the military’s own procedures.

The State Attorney’s Office responded that the military agreed to reconsider the application “ex gratia” and given the fact that recently AM had his marriage recorded in the Palestinian population registry. On May 1, 2015, the military issued AM a personal-needs entry permit for the “seam zone”. Thus, six months after the couple got engaged, AM was allowed to stay with his future bride inside the “seam zone”. Still, it must be noted that the permit was valid for seven days only and did not allow AM to stay at KK’s home overnight.

Following HaMoked’s letter to the State Attorney’s Office as to the insufficiency of the limited one-time entry permit AM was given, the State Attorney’s Office agreed –“given […] the accumulated exceptional circumstances” – to issue him three-month permits in the following year, which even enabled him to stay overnight at KK’s family home.

Meanwhile, the couple continued planning their life together. They arranged a wedding celebration, rented an apartment near KK’s parents – inside the “seam zone” – and moved to live there together. The military continued restricting AM’s stay there to three months at a time. Therefore, AM applied to enter the two-year process of “settlement in the seam zone”, at the end of which he could receive the status of “permanent resident in the seam zone” – a status that does not exempt its holders from obtaining military permits but they are valid for much longer, requiring renewal less often.

In February 2012, the military allowed AM to begin the “settlement” process in the house he had rented with KK. In 2014, AM’s status was “upgraded” to that of “permanent resident in the seam zone”. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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