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14.11.2010

The military violates fundamental rights of Palestinians who wish to live inside the "seam zone": only after extended delays and a petition to the HCJ, a married couple is allowed "by the grace" of the military to live together in their West Bank home

The seam zone, in the West Bank, lies on the west side of the separation wall, which detaches it from the rest of the West Bank. Since the construction of the separation wall by Israel, the military has been enforcing a strict permit regime in the seam zone, demanding, among other things, that any Palestinian who intends to enter the seam zone obtain a permit in advance.

Early in November, 2009, a couple from the area of Jenin got married. The homes where they grew up stand several hundred meters apart and now the wall separates them. The newlywed couple wished to set up home in the woman's village of Khirbet al R’adiya, west of the wall. After the wedding, the husband had his address in the population registry updated to that of his wife, and also applied for a new resident permit for the seam zone. A while later, the Israeli district coordination office (DCO) informed him his request was denied, since he was not a permanent resident of the seam zone. The response prompted him to reapply for the permit - a common practice in such seam zone applications. Lo and behold, the DCO again refused him, on the exact same grounds. The absurdity is worth noting: a request for a new resident permit for the seam zone is rejected due to the fact that the applicant is not a permanent resident of the seam zone…

At the same time, the husband also requested a seam zone visitation permit, so he could see his new bride. In late February, the military issued him a "personal needs" permit for three months, during which he was allowed just three visits to his wife and only in the daytime.   

HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, submitted on his behalf another application for a new resident permit for the seam zone. In a phone conversation, the Jenin DCO liaison officer told HaMoked's representative that the request was being processed. When she countered that it was being processed for months already, the officer replied: "I know him…it's not urgent. He doesn't live on the streets. Let him wait". This reply is more than just conceited and denigrating, it also contravenes military orders. The military defined the granting of seam zone permits as primarily intended to "sustain the fabric of life within the seam zone and respect the value of the family’s unity".  

On August 22, 2010, HaMoked urgently petitioned the High Court of Justice, to order the military to issue the husband a new resident permit for the seam zone. In the petition, HaMoked claims that the couple's basic right to family life and the petitioner's freedom of movement are both drastically injured by disallowing them to share a home. HaMoked further notes that it opposes the permit regime all together, nonetheless, had only the military followed its own orders, the permit would have long been issued, and the severe injury to the couple's rights would have been avoided. 

On October 6, 2010, some ten months from the initial application, the husband received an entry permit for the seam zone.
mail@hamoked.org.il (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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