Following HaMoked’s petition: a Palestinian man will reunite in France with his wife and toddler son whom he has yet to meet, after he was banned by Israel from leaving the West Bank for some 3 years
Every year, the Israeli security forces ban hundreds of Palestinians from the oPt from going abroad, without a hearing or a notice regarding the travel ban. These “security” bans are often imposed arbitrarily, and are frequently lifted following the submission of a petition by HaMoked, either against the ban or against the non-response of the military to a request to lift the ban. In most cases, the banned individuals wish to travel abroad for business or family reasons, or to receive medical care
. The following case is extreme in that it concerns a person who does not live in the West Bank and only arrived there on a visit, and as result of the ban, his life was completely disrupted and he was forced to live apart from his young family for several years.
In 2007, the man left the oPt for his studies and stayed on living abroad, and eventually married a French resident in 2015. In early 2016, the man returned to the West Bank to visit his family. Immediately on reaching the Allenby Bridge crossing, he was arrested by the Israeli security forces. He was tried and convicted and in August 2017 completed serving a prison sentence. When he then tried to leave the West Bank to return to his wife and his son, born after his arrest and whom he had never met, the Israeli military banned him from leaving on the grounds that he was “precluded from travel by the Israel Security Service (ISA)”. All his objection to the ban were rejected as were three court petitions filed by HaMoked on his behalf. In the last one, filed October 2019, District Court Judge Sobel decided – having examined the classified material ex parte and with the consent of security entities – that if until October 7, 2020, no new “negative material” concerning the petitioner came to light, his next “request to go abroad” to reunite with his family, would be positively considered.
It should be noted that the military also rejected the wife’s request to visit her spouse in the West Bank – and this, before the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic. Thus five years passed, during which the man was forced to live apart from his wife, and she was forced to raise their son on her own, a son who had yet to meet his father.
On November 17, 2020, pursuant to the court’s decision a year earlier, HaMoked applied on the man’s behalf to the military to find out whether the man was still banned from leaving the West bank. The military responded that the man was banned from international travel. Therefore HaMoked requested, as per the military regulations, to lift the ban in order to allow the man to resume his former life and reunite with his family.
HaMoked’s repeated reminders seeking a pertinent response were to no avail, even after the stipulated deadline for such a response had passed. Therefore, on January 21, 2021, HaMoked petitioned the Jerusalem Court for Administrative Affairs to demand an immediate response from the military allowing the man to leave for France where his wife and son were eagerly waiting for him.
Before a hearing was held in the case, and shortly after the military received an enquiry concerning the man on behalf of Ha’aretz newspaper, HaMoked was informed on February 2, 2021, that the ban against the man had been lifted. Once the Coronavirus travel restrictions are removed, the man will be able to finally join his wife and son in France.
It should be noted that HaMoked handled at least one other case (108347) in which the Israeli security forces banned the exit from the West Bank of a Palestinian, a woman , whose life is rooted in another country.