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HaMoked – Center for the Defence of the Individual has requested to delete the petition filed in the matter of eight Palestinians who wished to leave the Gaza Strip for the West Bank in fear for their lives: The Palestinian Authority has withdrawn its agreement to let the eight enter the West Bank, seemingly following the intervention of the Israeli Prime Minister's political advisor. In the beginning of the third week after the petition was filed, the eight men were detained by Hamas

On Friday, August 8 2008, HaMoked filed an urgent petition with the Court in a bid to allow the eight men to cross to the West Bank, or to any other location. The men fled their neighborhood, Tel al-Hawa in the Gaza Strip, fearing for their lives after a battle with Hamas during which Hamas forces set fire to their homes and attempted to kill them. The eight men went into hiding but were forced to abandon their hiding place for fear of being discovered by Hamas. They have been hiding ever since in a citrus orchard near the fence separating the Gaza Strip from Israel, without shelter, food or water.  

HaMoked noted in the petition: "When a person begs for his life one must recall the adage: 'he who saves a life saves the entire universe.' That person is not a 'Palestinian' or a 'Fatah member.' He is neither 'our man' nor 'theirs.' He is an individual, a living soul, with death lurking at his door." The petition goes on to say: "In the air-conditioned bureaus of military officers, officials and diplomats, – both Palestinian and Israeli – some cynical considerations might now be on the table – who turned to whom, in what avenues, what will I gain, what will I lose, what about my weekend rest, were the papers filled out properly…? The cry of a man begging for his life, the individual's cry, must not, under any circumstances, be subject to cynical political considerations. The cry of a man begging for his life is always louder and must always be heard over every other noise." 

As early as in its first response to the petition, the State stressed that it was under no obligation to allow foreigners into its territory, but would allow the eight to transit and leave the danger zone under three conditions: the existence of a real danger to their lives in the Gaza Strip, security clearance and Palestinian Authority approval of their passage to the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority indeed forwarded a request regarding five of the eight men to Israel. Subsequently, the Prime Minister's political adviser contacted the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority for "clarification." The following day, the Palestinian Authority oddly retracted its request. Israel continued to argue in its responses that it bore no responsibility for the lives of the eight men and that aid agencies in the Gaza Strip were capable of providing a solution for their problem. 

In response, HaMoked pointed out that Israel maintains sole authority to permit Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip for the West Bank. It does not require approval from the Palestinian side to allow Palestinians into the West Bank which is an occupied territory under Israeli control. After discovering that the Palestinian Authority had cancelled its request to let the men transit to the West Bank and receiving notification from the ICRC that they had been arrested by Hamas, HaMoked decided to delete the petition. After three weeks of communicating with the eight men, HaMoked lost contact with them and their fate remains unknown. 

To view the petition dated 8 August 2008 (In Hebrew)

To view the State's response dated 8 August 2008 (In Hebrew)

To view the State's response dated 10 August 2008 (In Hebrew)

To view the Petitioners' response dated 10 August 2008 (In Hebrew)

To view the Petitioners' response dated 22 August 2008 (In Hebrew)

To view the State's third updating notice dated 25 August 2008 (In Hebrew)

To view the request to delete the petition dated 27 August 2008 (In Hebrew) (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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