Following HaMoked's petition, Israeli residents and citizens are allowed to visit their relatives who live in the Gaza Strip on the upcoming Muslim holiday of Id Al-Fitr: the petition was filed following the state's decision to forbid such visits, despite its past commitments to the HCJ in the context of previous petitions by HaMoked in the matter
On October 17, 2006, HaMoked petitioned the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to allow Israeli residents and citizens to visit their relatives who live in the Gaza Strip on the Muslim holiday of Id Al-Fitr, together with their spouses and minor children. The petition followed the state's decision to forbid Israelis to enter Gaza on the holiday visits, since the issue cannot be coordinated with the Palestinian government, currently headed by Hamas.
This constitutes a disavowal of the state's commitments to the HCJ, made following previous similar petitions by HaMoked. The arrangement was formulated with the intention to allow Israeli residents and citizens to apply for visits to immediate relatives, and, barring a specific security risk, to also consider requests to visit non-immediate relatives.
The state's argument in support of its current decision was absurd and illegitimate, since holiday visits to Gaza already occured after the current Palestinian government was set up, showing that coordination with the Palestinian government is in no way necessary. In the petition, HaMoked stated its concern that this excuse covers alien considerations, to promote political ends by putting pressure on the Palestinian population of Gaza. The petition suggests further that perhaps the state assumes that by spoiling the holiday spirit and exacerbating the forced isolation of Gaza residents, their desperation might increase and the sense of crisis will cause upheaval and the government's delegitimization, a government whose downfall Israel wishes.
As a result of this policy, Israel violates the rights to family life and freedom of worship – rights accorded special status in Israeli constitutional law, international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
To quote the petition:
It is inconceivable that each time, ahead of one of the main holidays, the respondents turn back the wheel, and ply new hurdles and obstacles in the path of the petitioner and the host of visitors, making preposterous claims without legal or factual basis. From 2003 until now, the petitioner filed four petitions, all on the subject of the holiday visits by Israeli visitors, all four deleted since the respondent committed to allow these holiday visits, subject to the above elaborated criteria. It It is unacceptable that when it suits him, the respondent makes certain commitments in writing, and later ignores them at will. This makes a mockery of the judicial proceedings in which the respondent’s notices were submitted.
On October 19, 2006, a hearing of the petition was held in the HCJ. The state informed it has not yet formulated its decision, to be announced later in the day.
Later the same day, the state sent notice to the court that it had decided to allow a 48- hour long visit on the holiday. According to the notice, barring specific security preclusion, individuals who have immediate relatives in Gaza would be allowed to enter, and bring along their spouses and immediate relatives under the age of 18. Note, this is a repeat of the agreements reached by the parties in the context of the previous petitions. The state did not elaborate why it had initially retreated from past agreements – a position which brought about the current petition.