Following HaMoked's intervention: Israel will release a prisoner who is erroneously registered as a resident of Gaza Strip to his home in the West Bank
In 2000, a family left the Gaza Strip and relocated to the West Bank. The parents and their six children traveled to the West Bank through the "safe passage", which was in operation at the time. They bought a house in Qalqiliya and have lived there ever since. The family informed the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior of their change of address to Qalqiliya. Because of the freeze Israel imposed on updating addresses
in the Palestinian population registry, the parents' address was changed only in 2011, most likely as part of a political gesture
. The addresses of three of the children were updated along with their parents' addresses. For reasons unknown, the other children's addresses were not updated, and they remained erroneously registered in the Gaza Strip.
In February 2013, due to financial difficulties, one of the children entered Israel without a permit to find work. The young man was apprehended as an illegal alien. He was tried and sentenced to two years in prison. Ahead of his release, the parents feared their son would be deported from the Israeli prison directly to the Gaza Strip, his registered address, rather than being released to his home in Qalqiliya. This concern was a result of the fact that another one of their sons, who was also imprisoned for illegal presence in Israel, was forcibly removed to the Gaza Strip upon his release without prior notice. He has been living in Gaza ever since, far from his family and home and the army has been adamant in its refusal to allow him to return to Qalqiliya.
HaMoked contacted the Israel Prison Service (IPS) and the army to make sure that the son who was in prison now would not be forcibly removed to Gaza. HaMoked noted that the young man had been living with his family in their home in Qalqiliya since 2000, when he was only ten years old. HaMoked added that he resides in the West Bank exclusively and had not set foot in the Gaza Strip for 13 years. On July 9, 2013, the IPS said that "According to the population registry [the prisoner] is a resident of Beit Lahia in the Gaza Strip. To be released to Erez Crossing". The military said the next day that his request not to be forcibly removed to Gaza would be considered prior to his release.
Since the army's response was received only four days before the son's expected release, HaMoked immediately filed a petition to the High Court of Justice
, to prevent his forcible removal to Gaza. HaMoked argued that releasing the prisoner to Gaza instead of his home in the West Bank would violate his rights to family life, personal liberty and dignity. HaMoked recalled that due to Israel's policy of severely limiting passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, if he is removed to the Gaza Strip, he will likely never be able to leave and return to his home and parents.
On the day the petition was filed, HaMoked received confirmation from the IPS and the army that the young man would be released to his home in the West Bank. HaMoked continues to communicate with the Israeli authorities in an attempt to have the addresses of all family members updated and to bring the son who was removed to Gaza home.