November 18, 2015: This morning, Gisha submitted a petition to the High Court against the Defense Minister, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), and the Gaza Coordination and Liaison office demanding that they explain why they will not allow a 23-year-old Palestinian resident of Gaza to transit through Israel to Jordan on her way to her own wedding. Her future parents-in-law, both residents of the Strip, joined the petition as they too wish to attend their son’s wedding.
The young petitioner has been engaged to her fiancé, a Spanish citizen who is a Palestinian from Gaza, for the past year and a half and wishes to join him in Madrid. Their wedding date has been set and delayed twice already, in July and September. The second time, they had already printed invitations but the permit requests of the three petitions were denied.
Gisha’s request on the petitioners’ behalf was refused on the grounds that they “do not meet the criteria” for travel. According to the criteria for passage of people to and from the Strip, people can request exit permits only in exceptional humanitarian cases, including to attend the wedding, funeral, or sickbed (in the case of a grave medical condition) of a first-degree relative. Traveling to attend one’s own wedding apparently doesn’t count.
The young woman and her future in-laws registered to travel from Gaza via Rafah Crossing, however the crossing has been mostly closed for the past year and a half. According to Gisha’s sources, there are at least 17,000 people registered to travel via Rafah, including hundreds of students who have been unable to reach their universities abroad.
By virtue of Israel’s substantial control over many aspects of life in the Gaza Strip, international law requires Israel to facilitate normal life in the Strip, including by allowing access for civilians. Despite there being no security rationale behind it, Israel continues to refuse to allow people to travel the short distance between Gaza and Allenby Bridge on their way to fulfilling their legitimate aspirations.
To read the petition (Hebrew), click here.