Security Prisoner
Security Detainee
Administrative Detainee

HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) in the matter of an Israeli citizen who requested entry into Gaza in order to visit her husband, whom she had not seen in over eighteen months: Even after the court instructed the state to find a suitable solution to the petitioner's plight, the state continued to deny the petitioner entry into Gaza, citing security reasons pertaining to the petitioner's relatives, which have no bearing on her. The state also continually avoided suggesting any alternative solution to the petitioner's plight.

The petitioner, an Israeli citizen married to a Palestinian resident of Gaza, divides her time between her home in Israel and her husband's in Gaza. The petitioner's visits to Gaza were conducted by force of a military procedure known as the "Divided Families Procedure", under which Israeli citizens and residents whose spouses live in the Gaza Strip are granted renewable entry permits, enabling them to maintain family life. The petitioner last exited Gaza in late 2006, and has not seen her husband since. After HaMoked intervened on her behalf, she received a letter from the Israeli District Coordination Office (DCO) in Gaza, in which the military informed the petitioner that she has been "denied exit from Israel due to security reasons." The state's response to the petition indicates that her request was rejected because of an alleged security risk posed by her relative. Following this notice of rejection, HaMoked petitioned the HCJ.

The petitioners emphasize that the refusal to grant the petitioner entry into Gaza constitutes a grave violation of her right to family and dignity, as well as her right to freedom of movement, which is an accepted principle of customary international law. The state is obligated to strike a balance between injury to individual rights and its security considerations. The petitioners claim that the military's decision is entirely disproportionate, especially in light of the fact that Israeli legislation wholly prevents the petitioner from uniting with her husband in Israel.  

At the hearing on the petition, the HCJ stated its view that the matter must be duly resolved, so as to allow the petitioner to maintain a normal family life. Presiding Justice Levi emphasized in this context, that the petitioner was being faulted with the crimes of others. As part of the HCJ's attempt to find a practical solution for the petitioner's plight, Justice Levi also made a perplexing suggestion, one which contradicts the petitioner's basic rights: that the petitioner move to Gaza permanently, and be allowed to visit Israel when necessary, by special permit, without having her Israeli citizenship revoked. 

The HCJ concluded the hearing by ordering both sides to seek further practical measures to relieve the petitioner's plight. The state remained entrenched in its position, and refused to do so, regardless of the HCJ's order, and despite the fact that it bears full responsibility for the couple's two-year long separation. The state's evasive attitude towards the couple's plight eventually broke their spirit: they decided to break up the family unit they had founded in 1999, and to request that their petition be stricken. 

To view the request to strike the petition 24 November 2008 (Hebrew) (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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