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13.7.2008

HaMoked petitions the HCJ in the matter of a father and his young son who wish to return home to the Gaza Strip where the wife and baby daughter are located, after Israel stipulated passage would be allowed only upon the father undertaking never to return to the West Bank: HaMoked objects to the new policy whereby Israel abuses the distress of Palestinian families who are split between the Gaza Strip and West Bank as a means to pressure Palestinians to move from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip permanently

On 10 July 2008, HaMoked filed a petition in the matter of a father and son who wish to travel from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip to reunite with the other half of the family – the wife and daughter. 

The Petitioner, originally from Hebron, married a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip and lived with her there because of the severe restrictions Israel imposes on Palestinians' passage from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. The Petitioner remained in the Gaza Strip for close to seven years without visiting his relatives in Hebron for fear that Israel would block his way back to his family in Gaza. In May 2007, the Petitioner decided to travel to the West Bank in spite of his concerns, in order to be at his mother's bedside as she underwent a leg amputation. When he wanted to return to Gaza, his concerns became reality and all the applications he submitted for a permit to travel were denied. Applications to allow his wife and daughter to travel to the West Bank were also denied. In March 2008, the Israeli District Coordination Office (DCO) finally responded to the application saying that he would be allowed to travel from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip only if he signs an undertaking never to return to the West Bank. 

This was not the first time HaMoked has come across this unacceptable Israeli policy. In another case, a resident of Qalqiliya who wanted to visit her ailing husband in the Gaza Strip was told by the Israeli army that she could receive a "one way permit" to the Gaza Strip. HaMoked clarifies that Israel's claim that restrictions on movement between the Gaza Strip and West Bank are based on "security considerations" is ridiculous. Israel's objects to passage from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, yet does not when it comes to passage in the opposite direction. When Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip wish to visit the West Bank, the condition that is presented is that they immediately return to the Gaza Strip, sometimes the army requires a monetary guarantee for their immediate return. Moreover, while Palestinians who have been living in the Gaza Strip for many years without changing their registered address are considered by Israel as residents of the Gaza Strip in practice, Palestinians who have been living in the West Bank for years but whose registered address remains in the Gaza Strip are detained as illegal aliens in the West Bank and live under the constant threat of forcible removal from their homes. 

The Petitioners claim that Israel is impeding their right to family life and the children's right to be with their parents. Israel is breaching its obligations to respect Palestinians' freedom to travel between the two parts of their land. Israel has acknowledged, and never retracted this acknowledgement, that the Gaza Strip and West Bank are one Palestinians territory. Palestinians have a right to move inside this territory as they wish and choose where to live in them – including all this entails.  

The Petitioners also point to the difference between the right of transit through Israel and the right to enter Israel and clarify that the Petitioners do not seek to enter Israel in order to remain or settle in it. All they are asking is for Israel to allow them to cross it, which they must do in order to travel between the Gaza Strip and West Bank. 

mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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