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HaMoked successfully prevents the deportation to Gaza of a man who finished serving his prison sentence in Israel: Israel has avoided updating the man’s address, although he moved to the West Bank in the 1990s

Israel regards Palestinians whose address in the population registry is listed as Gaza who actually live in the West Bank, as “illegal aliens” unlawfully present in their homes; this, even if they have been living in the West Bank for many years – and moved there with Israel’s knowledge and consent and long before it launched its baseless demand that they obtain a special military permit for “residence in the West Bank”. In 2012, Israel undertook before the High Court of Justice to no longer deport to back Gaza people who had relocated to the West Bank before September 2005, provided there was no security preclusion against them. However, Israel continues to refuse to update these people’s address in its copy of the Palestinian population registry, and continues to regard them as “illegal aliens” in the West Bank.

On September 18, 2018, HaMoked contacted the military on behalf of a man incarcerated in Israel for many years who was to be released on February 6, 2019, after learning the authorities intended to release him to the Gaza Strip. The man moved to live legally in the West Bank in 1997, as part of his job in the Palestinian security apparatus, and had not been to Gaza since then, when he was 18 years old. HaMoked noted that the man had made his home in the West Bank, and had a wife and two children – all of whom have been living in the West Bank all their lives – who are eager to be reunited with him there. His old job in the Palestinian Authority also awaited him in the West Bank. HaMoked added that the family had contacted the Israeli military, via the Palestinian coordination office, several times in the past to have his address updated to the West Bank, but their requests remained unanswered. HaMoked stressed that if the man was not released to his home in the West Bank district of Bethlehem, he, his wife and children would be severely harmed. HaMoked attached various documents attesting to the family’s center of life in the West Bank.

After lengthy foot dragging, and only after HaMoked noted that in the absence of response it would have to petition to the High Court of Justice (HCJ), the military notified by telephone on December 11, 2018, that HaMoked should contact the Israel Prison Service (IPS) officials in the prison in which the man was held, according to an unknown military procedure titled “procedure regarding the release of a Gaza Strip resident from prisons in Israel to the Judea and Samaria Area – January 2012” – which was sent to HaMoked upon its request that same day, and apparently has never been published until now. HaMoked immediately contacted the IPS and reiterated its demand that the man be released to his home in the West Bank.

The IPS also delayed in responding, despite the urgency given the man’s approaching release date, and despite reminders sent by HaMoked. Only on January 14, 2019, after HaMoked clarified that if no response arrived that same day, it would file an urgent petition to the HCJ, did the IPS reply that the man would be released to his home in the West Bank.

The man was released on February 6, 2019, and returned to his family home in Bethlehem. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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