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Military makes mockery of Israeli citizen by first refusing to let her enter Gaza to attend her brother’s wedding and then, following a High Court petition, conceding a one-hour visit with the brother and his bride

As part of Israel’s strategy of weakening ties between Palestinians living in Israel and their relatives in the Gaza Strip, the military rarely issues permits to Israelis who wish to visit relatives who live in Gaza. Israeli citizens and residents may visit Gaza under exceptional circumstances, which include attending a first-degree relative’s wedding or funeral. Still, even in cases that do meet the military’s narrow criteria, it often denies people the opportunity to exercise their rights to freedom of movement and to family life on “security” grounds.

This is what happened to an Israeli citizen who wanted to attend her brother’s wedding in Gaza. She asked to visit the Strip from April 25 to 28, 2017. On March 30, 2017, HaMoked contacted the military asking for a permit for the woman, and her three children, all citizens of Israel, so that they may attend the family celebration.

Despite repeated appeals and the tight schedule, the military did not respond for weeks. On April 19, 2017, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice asking it to instruct the state to respond to the application, and allow the woman and her children to enter Gaza and attend the wedding.

In its response to the petition, dated April 20, 2017, the state said the application had been denied due to classified information that some of her brothers who live in Gaza are “involved in terrorism”.

Following the hearing of the petition, on April 23, 2017, the state announced the woman would be allowed to travel to Gaza alone, where she would meet with her brother and his bride only. She would have to sign an undertaking that the meeting would not take longer than one hour, after which she would return to Israel.

The next day, HaMoked submitted a notice to the court stating that the woman could not agree to the state’s absurd offer – arriving in Gaza, without her children, to see her brother and her future sister-in-law for just one hour, particularly considering the difficulties involved in getting through the crossing and undergoing security checks, as well as the cost of travel. The state evidently made such an outrageous proposition in an effort to prevent the woman and her children from attending her brother’s, their uncle’s, wedding.

On April 25, 2017, the petition was deleted. In the judgment, Deputy President Rubinstein repeatedly stated: “We are aware of the administrative difficulty described in the notice, yet we fear that it arises from the state of security under the rule of Hamas, upon whose conduct there is no need to elaborate”. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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