Center for the Defence of the Individual - The Military prevented a Palestinian academic from travelling abroad under a security pretext: following HaMoked's intervention, the man was permitted to travel to a university in England
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The Military prevented a Palestinian academic from travelling abroad under a security pretext: following HaMoked's intervention, the man was permitted to travel to a university in England

On May 26, 2018, a young Palestinian Academic, a Doctor of Chemistry who works as a lecturer at Hebron University, arrived at the Allenby Bridge. The man, who had been invited to take part in a research project at a university in England during the summer, had planned on travelling to Jordan from the Bridge, and then continuing to his final destination. But on his arrival at the border crossing, military personnel notified him that there is a "security preclusion" barring him from travelling abroad, and that he can appeal the preclusion at the District Coordination Office (DCO) in his area of residence.

On June 3, 2018, HaMoked submitted an urgent appeal to the Hebron DCO on the man's behalf. HaMoked clarified that should the man fail to arrive in England before the beginning of July, he will lose his place in the research project. The military procedure for reviewing appeals submitted by Palestinians against preclusions barring them from travelling abroad, states that the timeframe for handling such appeals is 8 weeks. The procedure does not address urgent cases, and as such, HaMoked is frequently forced to petition the High Court of Justice (HCJ) on behalf of residents who have an urgent need to travel abroad.

Having received no response from the military, on June 12, 2018, HaMoked notified the State Attorney's office of its intention to turn to the Court if the appeal is not speedily answered. In a last effort to avoid petitioning the HCJ, HaMoked once again contacted the Hebron DCO on June 18, 2018, and was informed that the preclusion against the man will be removed if he agrees to sign an obligation "to avoid terrorist activities" whilst overseas. This, despite the fact that the man has never been accused of anything, and had been provided with no information regarding the suspicions against him. The following day, HaMoked sent a signed obligation on the man's behalf to the DCO, and requested written confirmation of the removal of the preclusion against him. Having received no such confirmation, HaMoked's representative contacted the DCO again on June 20, 2018, and was told on the phone that the preclusion was removed. HaMoked's past experience indicates that without written confirmation, preclusions that were allegedly removed can sometimes suddenly reappear upon a person's arrival at the Allenby Bridge. Though no written confirmation was received, and due to the urgency of the situation, the man travelled to the bridge on July 1, 2018, in a last attempt to travel abroad and take part in the research project he was invited to. The man was delayed for 6 hours and forced to once again sign the same obligation which had already been sent to the DCO on his behalf. Following this ordeal, the military finally permitted the man to travel abroad, more than a month after his first attempt, and without ever having provided any justification for the delay or the preclusion entered against him.

This case is one of hundreds occurring every year: security forces enter "security preclusions" against Palestinian residents of the occupied territories, without conducting a hearing and without informing the person against whom a preclusion has been entered. Many Palestinians therefore only learn they are unable to travel abroad upon their arrival at the border point – having wasted extensive amounts of time and money – and preclusions are often removed following HaMoked's intervention.

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