The High Court of Justice (HCJ) partially accepted a petition submitted by HaMoked and will enable the children of a family from East Jerusalem to visit their sick grandmother who lives in the Gaza Strip: For over two and a half years the military has refused to let the relatives attend to the sick grandmother in the Gaza Strip; reneged on its own undertakings, cancelled authorizations it has given; and justified its refusal on vague security grounds המוקד להגנת הפרט
21.05.2008
The High Court of Justice (HCJ) partially accepted a petition submitted by HaMoked and will enable the children of a family from East Jerusalem to visit their sick grandmother who lives in the Gaza Strip: For over two and a half years the military has refused to let the relatives attend to the sick grandmother in the Gaza Strip; reneged on its own undertakings, cancelled authorizations it has given; and justified its refusal on vague security grounds
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The Petitioners are Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. The Petitioner’s elderly and infirm mother lives in the Gaza Strip. Due to the incomprehensible behavior of the military, the members of the family have been unable to meet for over two and a half years. The Petitioners twice received permits to enter the Gaza Strip and twice arrived at Erez Crossing, only to be forced to turn back. On 10 January 2006, a police officer at the crossing informed the family that they could not enter the Gaza Strip to visit the sick mother, since the Petitioner – her daughter – was “prevented on security grounds.” On 17 February 2006, the Petitioners again arrived at Erez Crossing, having been informed beforehand that they would be permitted to enter the Gaza Strip for three days. Once again, however, a police officer prevented the relatives from entering the Gaza Strip, again on “security grounds.” An examination by HaMoked with the Borders Police revealed that there is no order preventing the Petitioner from leaving Israel.

After repeated requests by HaMoked to receive a satisfactory explanation for this defective behavior on the part of the military, the authorities announced that the family had been prevented from entering the Gaza Strip due to first-degree relatives' ties to terrorist activity. Before submitting the petition, HaMoked emphasized to the authorities that the Petitioner and her immediate relatives, with whom she is in contact, have never been arrested or interrogated. HaMoked argued that to punish the Petitioner for the alleged activities of unnamed relatives constituted collective punishment. 

The military has severely injured the Petitioners’ rights in this case. Preventing a person from meeting with his or her sick mother strikes at the heart of the right to dignity and the right to family – as well, of course, as the right to freedom of movement. These rights are amply manifested in Israeli constitutional law and in international law. HaMoked further argued that such grave injury to the dignity and liberty of a person who is not even alleged to present any danger constitutes illegal injury that is inconsonant with basic constitutional principles. HaMoked argues that a clear principle should be adopted that the rights of an individual may be restricted only if the individual presents a personal danger. Any deviation from this principle is inevitably disproportionate, and accordingly unconstitutional and unacceptable.

During the hearing in the petition, the state strongly opposed the possibility of any of the relatives’ visiting the Gaza Strip. After pressure from the justices, however, the state was forced to retreat from its blanket refusal and to agree to permit the children to visit their grandmother. The court obliged the state to agree to the children’s passage under arrangements to be determined by the Israel Security Agency (ISA). Thus the court effectively accepted the petition with regard to the children, while rejecting it with regard to their parents.  

To view the petition dated 11 February 2008 (Hebrew) 

To view the ruling dated 4 May 2008 (Hebrew)

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