As many of us prepare to celebrate Passover, Easter or Ramadan with our families, I think of those who are not free to do so - of the families divided between Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem, unable to reunite because of Israel’s restrictive policies.
Of the Palestinians whose spouses are stuck abroad, unable to return home to the West Bank. Israel bars these spouses from receiving legal status in the West Bank. As they are not considered Palestinians, they are denied entry as part of the Coronavirus restrictions.
I think of the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons, over 200 of them children, who have not received family visits for many long months. Most of them don’t even receive phone calls.
I think of the deep inequalities between Israelis and Palestinians: while my family has been vaccinated against Coronavirus and can enjoy a holiday meal together, my Palestinian neighbours have no prospect for vaccination. The pandemic is currently worse than ever in the West Bank, and hospitals are turning patients away because their beds are full.
The big picture can lead to despair, so I’m glad to be working at HaMoked, where our interventions make a real, tangible difference to people’s lives every day. A letter to the military can enable a woman to reunite with her family in Gaza after a lengthy separation. A court petition can ensure a man is allowed to travel to France to join his wife and baby. A call to the police can locate a teenage boy in detention and alleviate some of his parents’ anxiety. An intervention to the Ministry of Interior can obtain legal status for a Jerusalemite mother so she no longer fears deportation.
Help us make this spring a season of freedom for all by supporting HaMoked. We need your support to continue assisting hundreds of Palestinians each month who are denied their most basic freedoms and rights.
Wishing you happy holidays and a more hopeful spring,
Executive Director of HaMoked