A military "solution": following HaMoked's petition to the HCJ, the military will consider allowing a Palestinian man who has not seen his wife and daughters for almost a decade, to meet them in Jordan on a six hour visit המוקד להגנת הפרט
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09.04.2012
A military "solution": following HaMoked's petition to the HCJ, the military will consider allowing a Palestinian man who has not seen his wife and daughters for almost a decade, to meet them in Jordan on a six hour visit
A military "solution": following HaMoked's petition to the HCJ, the military will consider allowing a Palestinian man who has not seen his wife and daughters for almost a decade, to meet them in Jordan on a six hour visit
Every year, the military prevents hundreds if not thousands of Palestinians from leaving the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), this without a signed warrant or a time restriction. The military is indeed authorized to restrict a person's liberty, but only if strictly necessary for express security reasons, and provided that a proper balance is kept, and that the excludee's basic rights are not harmed. The longer the ban continues, the stronger are the grounds required to justify it.

In 1990, a Palestinian from Ramallah was sentenced to a 12 year prison term for security offences he committed during the first intifada. In his first years in prison, he was visited by his wife and three daughters; however, in 1993, his wife and daughters left for a family visit in Jordan, and since then the military has prevented their return to the West Bank. Since his prison release in 2002, the man has repeatedly requested the military to allow him to travel from the West Bank to Jordan to visit his wife and daughters, but to no avail. The military has blacklisted him as a "security excludee", banned from leaving the West Bank. Numerous applications and two petitions to the High Court of Justice (HCJ) filed by HaMoked on his behalf, failed lead the military to change its position (the HCJ rejected the first petition, and struck out the second).

On December 27, 2011, HaMoked petitioned the HCJ for the third time, demanding to allow the man to leave the West Bank to meet his wife and daughters in Jordan. HaMoked also demanded that if the military persisted in its refusal, it would have to substantiate its decision and declare when would the "security ban" against the man – already lasting almost a decade – finally expire. HaMoked stressed that except for one brief visit in 1999, the man had not seen his daughters for over 17 years (!), and that the military's refusal to allow him to visit his family in Jordan constituted a severe violation of his right to family life. HaMoked added that the nearly decade-long ban was an excessive and unbalanced violation of his right to freedom of movement. Furthermore, as well as infringing on his liberty and human dignity, depriving him of the possibility to travel abroad, effectively meant his indefinite imprisonment inside the West Bank.

In response to the petition, the military argued the proclamation of the OPT as a closed Area, excluded "an automatic right to freedom of movement into and out of the Area". The military added that "the man's request to leave the Area for Jordan was rejected due to the danger his departure poses to security and public safety".

Early in 2012, two hearings were held on the petition. The justices determined that the man's case constituted a humanitarian problem requiring a solution, and advised the military to allow the man to leave for Jordan for a short visit at least. Despite the security material, the military undertook to seek a solution to allow the man to meet his wife and daughters.

On April 4, 2012, after reviewing the classified material, the court dismissed the petition. The justices, holding that "at present, we cannot assist the petitioner", endorsed the "solution" proposed by the state: in six months time, the military will consider allowing the man – who has not seen his daughters for almost two decades – to meet his family in Jordan for six hours!
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Every year, the military prevents hundreds if not thousands of Palestinians from leaving the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), this without a signed warrant or a time restriction. The military is indeed authorized to restrict a person's liberty, but only if strictly necessary for express security reasons, and provided that a proper balance is kept, and that the excludee's basic rights are not harmed. The longer the ban continues, the stronger are the grounds required to justify it.

In 1990, a Palestinian from Ramallah was sentenced to a 12 year prison term for security offences he committed during the first intifada. In his first years in prison, he was visited by his wife and three daughters; however, in 1993, his wife and daughters left for a family visit in Jordan, and since then the military has prevented their return to the West Bank. Since his prison release in 2002, the man has repeatedly requested the military to allow him to travel from the West Bank to Jordan to visit his wife and daughters, but to no avail. The military has blacklisted him as a "security excludee", banned from leaving the West Bank. Numerous applications and two petitions to the High Court of Justice (HCJ) filed by HaMoked on his behalf, failed lead the military to change its position (the HCJ rejected the first petition, and struck out the second).

On December 27, 2011, HaMoked petitioned the HCJ for the third time, demanding to allow the man to leave the West Bank to meet his wife and daughters in Jordan. HaMoked also demanded that if the military persisted in its refusal, it would have to substantiate its decision and declare when would the "security ban" against the man – already lasting almost a decade – finally expire. HaMoked stressed that except for one brief visit in 1999, the man had not seen his daughters for over 17 years (!), and that the military's refusal to allow him to visit his family in Jordan constituted a severe violation of his right to family life. HaMoked added that the nearly decade-long ban was an excessive and unbalanced violation of his right to freedom of movement. Furthermore, as well as infringing on his liberty and human dignity, depriving him of the possibility to travel abroad, effectively meant his indefinite imprisonment inside the West Bank.

In response to the petition, the military argued the proclamation of the OPT as a closed Area, excluded "an automatic right to freedom of movement into and out of the Area". The military added that "the man's request to leave the Area for Jordan was rejected due to the danger his departure poses to security and public safety".

Early in 2012, two hearings were held on the petition. The justices determined that the man's case constituted a humanitarian problem requiring a solution, and advised the military to allow the man to leave for Jordan for a short visit at least. Despite the security material, the military undertook to seek a solution to allow the man to meet his wife and daughters.

On April 4, 2012, after reviewing the classified material, the court dismissed the petition. The justices, holding that "at present, we cannot assist the petitioner", endorsed the "solution" proposed by the state: in six months time, the military will consider allowing the man – who has not seen his daughters for almost two decades – to meet his family in Jordan for six hours!
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