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Entry to the “seam zone” to visit a daughter: the case of HZ
documents: 0  |  Updates: 0 HZ, married and a father of five who lives in the district of Jenin, could not participate in his daughter’s wedding. The reason: HZ lives on the east side of the separation wall, and his daughter’s wedding was held on the west side, inside the area Israel calls the “seam zone”. Since 2003, Israel has been implementing in this area a draconian permit regime, requiring, inter alia, that every Palestinian who wishes to enter the “seam zone” obtain a special permit for the purpose. In compliance with the military procedures, the HZ filed an application to participate in his daughter’s wedding inside the “seam zone”, but was turned down by the military for “security reasons” – despite the fact that he was never arrested or interrogated.

A few weeks after the wedding, on June 27, 2011, HZ filed a new application to enter the “seam zone” to visit his daughter who now lived there with her husband and also his son-in-law’s family, with whom he was prevented from celebrating the nuptials. Two weeks later, and only after HaMoked wrote to the military to expedite processing of the application, the military responded that the application was denied and that HZ could appeal the decision through the hearing committee.

On July 26, 2011, HZ went to the District Coordination Office (DCO) to file an appeal. After he waited there for two hours without anyone attending his request, HaMoked’s representative phoned the public liaison officer to inquire about the delay. To her surprise, the soldier who talked with her told her that HZ had been issued an entry permit for the “seam zone” that was valid from July 18, 2011 until July 20, 2011. As the permit expired even before HZ knew it existed, HaMoked’s representative asked to issued him a new permit instead, but the soldier said “this is not possible” and referred HZ to file a new application. HZ did so that same day.

Another month passed until the military replied, this time informing that HZ’s application was refused for “security reasons” and that the permit that was issued (and never used) “was issued to the resident by mistake”.

On August 29, 2011, HaMoked wrote to the military legal advisor for the West Bank to request that HZ be issued a permit, given that the refusal had been made illegally and was violating HZ’s rights to freedom of movement and family life. HaMoked also recalled that the High Court of Justice (HCJ) had ruled on the issue that “Access which enables entry not only to family members but rather to all residents who maintain social and business relations with the residents of the zone, is vital for maintaining the fabric of life”. To that, the military responded that if HZ applied again, he would be issued a permit. HZ applied accordingly for the third time. On October 25, 2011, almost five months after the wedding, he received an entry permit to the “seam zone” and finally got to visit his daughter. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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