Even after admitting to the error of refusing to acknowledge the kinship of a mother and her teenage son incarcerated inside Israel, the military continues to keep the woman from visiting the 17 year old, whom she has not met for a year now
Israel holds Palestinian prisoners and detainees in prison facilities located inside its own territory, in breach of international law. This practice leads to severe violations of the right to receive family visits in prison, which is a fundamental right for both the Palestinian inmates and their relatives. The violation is exacerbated by the arrangements and restrictions involved in the process, primarily the fact that relatives wishing to visit inmates must obtain a permit to enter Israel from the military for this purpose.
On February 6, 2017, HaMoked contacted
the military on behalf of a resident of Ramallah whose 17-year-old son is incarcerated in Israel. Her repeated applications to receive a permit to enter Israel in order to visit him have been denied due to “unverified kinship”. HaMoked demanded a permit be issued immediately, attaching documents that proved the kinship, including confirmation from the Palestinian Ministry of Interior.
However, the military continued to claim that the woman and the youth were not mother and son, refusing to give her a permit that would allow her the prison visit.
At that point, when the mother had not seen her son, still a minor, for more than 10 months, HaMoked filed a petition
with the Jerusalem District Court on this issue. In its March 8, 2017 petition, HaMoked noted that the military was ignoring the documentary proof HaMoked had sent it, that there were no grounds for the refusal, and that the woman and her son were paying a heavy price. HaMoked reiterated that the right to family life was a fundamental right to which all humans were entitled, and that the military, which maintained control over the civilian population, had a duty to allow family visits.
On April 9, 2017, the state announced
that after checking the Palestinian population registry, the kinship between the mother and son had been verified and that she could now make a new application for a permit to enter Israel. In a subsequent submission
, the state shamelessly remarked that cross-referencing information about the family had been done ex gratia
, and asked for the petition to be deleted without a costs order.
On April 23, 2017, the court ordered the petition remain pending and that “inasmuch as a review is needed should a visit not be allowed within a reasonable time, the petitioners shall make a scheduling motion, and a hearing shall be scheduled”. The court instructed the parties to file updating notices by May 15, 2017. HaMoked filed its notice
that same day, announcing it was not relinquishing the petition, and insisting on the military issuing the mother a permit immediately, without requiring her to apply anew and go through the bureaucratic ordeal, thus allowing her to see her son without delay.
On April 24, 2017, HaMoked once again contacted the state asking a permit be issued to the mother without delay, to obviate the need for a court review. The state is currently digging its heels and refusing to issue the permit.