At the end of his prison sentence: the state is set to deport to Gaza a Palestinian youth who has lived his entire life in the West Bank
Israel treats Palestinians who live in the West Bank but are listed with a Gaza Strip address in the population registry as infiltrators who are staying illegally in the West Bank – unless they hold a special permit issued by the military; this pursuant to the Order regarding Prevention of Infiltration (Amendment No. 2)
of 2009. Despite its 2012 undertaking before the High Court of Justice (HCJ) to no longer deport to the Gaza Strip people who had moved from there to the West Bank before September 2005, its years-long refusal to update addresses in the population registry means that the threat of deportation still hovers over many of those who have been living in the West Bank for years.
Thus in the case of a Palestinian youth, born in the Gaza Strip, who has lived in the West Bank for the past 21 years, since he relocated there with his family when his was less than a year old – and many years before Israel started demanding permits for stay or “settlement” in the West Bank. The youth was incarcerated by the military in September 2016 and was to be released from prison in May 2017. Shortly before his official release date, he was told by the authorities about the intention to deport him to Gaza upon release from prison based on his listed address in the population registry. Despite HaMoked’s appeals on his behalf to the military, accompanied by varied proof that his center of life was in the West Bank, as well as copies of his requests over the years to update his address to the West Bank, the military insisted on its plan to deport him to Gaza.
As no deportation order arrived despite the fact that the original release date had already passed, HaMoked petitioned the HCJ
. Only then was an order for deportation to Gaza issued against the youth and his matter was brought before the competent military committee that is charged with reviewing orders for deportation from the West Bank under the order for the prevention of infiltration
, and authorized to “revoke the deportation order, if convinced that the person in custody is not an infiltrator”. The petition was therefore deleted.
In its application to the committee
on June 5, 2017, the state claimed that “concerning the intended deportee there is negative security material, due to which security officials object to allow his stay in the area […]”. Later the state claimed in its response from July 6, 2017
,that the youth had stayed in the West Bank “without a permit and illegally for years”, without asking for a permit of stay in the West Bank or permission to settle there, and was therefore an “infiltrator” who could be deported from the West Bank. The state clarified that despite his “presumed entry date” to the West Bank, the “non-deportation” policy it had undertaken before the HCJ was not applicable to him, given the negative security material in his case.
In its response of July 13, 2017
, HaMoked asserted that labeling the youth an infiltrator was inherently preposterous, and therefore the order was without any legal basis. HaMoked dismissed the state’s claim that the youth had not sought a permit to stay in the West Bank, as such a permit existed only from 2007, years after the youth legally relocated to the West Bank. HaMoked also noted that Israel repeatedly ignored the youth’s applications to have his address updated in the population registry to the West Bank. HaMoked strongly opposed the state’s security claims, saying there were effectively empty and that no new security claim had been raised, only those for which the youth already served his prison sentence.
In its decision of October 15, 2017
, the military court accepted the military commander’s arguments and upheld the deportation order, ruling that based on the security material, and although the youth had entered the West Bank as a minor and lived there with his nuclear family from then on, he was no longer a minor and therefore could be defined as an infiltrator. The implementation of the order was deferred until November 5, 2017.