Arbitrarily and without reason, Israel continues to prevent Palestinians from traveling abroad from the West Bank: only following HaMoked's petitions to the HCJ, the military has lifted "security" exit bans against three Palestinians המוקד להגנת הפרט
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01.02.2012
Arbitrarily and without reason, Israel continues to prevent Palestinians from traveling abroad from the West Bank: only following HaMoked's petitions to the HCJ, the military has lifted "security" exit bans against three Palestinians
Arbitrarily and without reason, Israel continues to prevent Palestinians from traveling abroad from the West Bank: only following HaMoked's petitions to the HCJ, the military has lifted "security" exit bans against three Palestinians
Under international law, Israel, being the occupying power in the West Bank, must allow the residents of the territory to leave their country. The ban on travel abroad infringes on the residents' basic rights to dignity, personal autonomy and freedom of movement. The military commander is authorized to restrict a person's liberty, but only if strictly necessary for express security reasons.
 
Each year, Israel prevents thousands of Palestinians from traveling outside the occupied territory on security pretexts. The exit bans are issued in a clandestine manner – without granting the right to be heard, and without prior notice, signed warrant or expiration date. Most often, only upon reaching the Allenby Bridge border crossing – the only exit point open to West Bank residents – with his luggage and his plans ready, does a person discover he is banned from traveling abroad.

During September-October 2011, thousands of Palestinians arrived at the Allenby Bridge crossing on their way to Jordan, among them the three men of whom we write: a 52 year old tour guide from Hebron, who has been accompanying groups of pilgrims to Mecca for the last 25 years; a 33 year old man from a village near Jenin, who has been accepted to a Masters program in Jordan, and never before traveled outside his country; last but not least, a 27 year old West Bank resident, employed as a marketing manager for a family business based in Jordan. 
 
Upon reaching the Allenby Bridge crossing – at separate times and for separate reasons – the three men were prevented by the soldiers from continuing on their journeys, on the basis of "security" grounds. The tour guide had to leave the tourist group to travel on their own without guidance or attendance; the student missed his first semester of studies; the marketing manager was deprived of his livelihood.
 
The military procedure for contesting exit bans is a protracted, tedious and cumbersome process. Nonetheless, the three men lodged objections to the banning of their exit. For some three months, the tour guide awaited a reply; the student's objection was rejected within two months; Israel allowed the marketing manager to travel, provided he cooperated with the Israel Security Agency (!) and once he refused, his objection was denied without reason.

HaMoked filed a separate petition to the High Court of Justice for each of the three,  requesting it to order the military to let the men travel, present the grounds for banning their departure, and clarify when the bans were set to expire. Prior to a court hearing, the state briefly announced in each case, that the security exit ban against the petitioner had been lifted. HaMoked withdrew its petitions.
 
These three cases are just a small fraction of the vast, unacceptable and illegal phenomenon, whereby Israel traps – arbitrarily and without supervision or scrutiny – countless of people in their own country for indefinite periods of time, breaching their basic rights and infringing on their liberty and dignity without any reason.
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Under international law, Israel, being the occupying power in the West Bank, must allow the residents of the territory to leave their country. The ban on travel abroad infringes on the residents' basic rights to dignity, personal autonomy and freedom of movement. The military commander is authorized to restrict a person's liberty, but only if strictly necessary for express security reasons.
 
Each year, Israel prevents thousands of Palestinians from traveling outside the occupied territory on security pretexts. The exit bans are issued in a clandestine manner – without granting the right to be heard, and without prior notice, signed warrant or expiration date. Most often, only upon reaching the Allenby Bridge border crossing – the only exit point open to West Bank residents – with his luggage and his plans ready, does a person discover he is banned from traveling abroad.

During September-October 2011, thousands of Palestinians arrived at the Allenby Bridge crossing on their way to Jordan, among them the three men of whom we write: a 52 year old tour guide from Hebron, who has been accompanying groups of pilgrims to Mecca for the last 25 years; a 33 year old man from a village near Jenin, who has been accepted to a Masters program in Jordan, and never before traveled outside his country; last but not least, a 27 year old West Bank resident, employed as a marketing manager for a family business based in Jordan. 
 
Upon reaching the Allenby Bridge crossing – at separate times and for separate reasons – the three men were prevented by the soldiers from continuing on their journeys, on the basis of "security" grounds. The tour guide had to leave the tourist group to travel on their own without guidance or attendance; the student missed his first semester of studies; the marketing manager was deprived of his livelihood.
 
The military procedure for contesting exit bans is a protracted, tedious and cumbersome process. Nonetheless, the three men lodged objections to the banning of their exit. For some three months, the tour guide awaited a reply; the student's objection was rejected within two months; Israel allowed the marketing manager to travel, provided he cooperated with the Israel Security Agency (!) and once he refused, his objection was denied without reason.

HaMoked filed a separate petition to the High Court of Justice for each of the three,  requesting it to order the military to let the men travel, present the grounds for banning their departure, and clarify when the bans were set to expire. Prior to a court hearing, the state briefly announced in each case, that the security exit ban against the petitioner had been lifted. HaMoked withdrew its petitions.
 
These three cases are just a small fraction of the vast, unacceptable and illegal phenomenon, whereby Israel traps – arbitrarily and without supervision or scrutiny – countless of people in their own country for indefinite periods of time, breaching their basic rights and infringing on their liberty and dignity without any reason.
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