Gisha files HCJ petition against Ministry of Interior for immediate publication of an operating procedure to regulate entry into Israel by Israeli citizens who live in the Gaza Strip
In the petition (Hebrew), filed on June 8, 2015, Gisha requests that the Minister of Interior and representatives of the Population Authority immediately publish an operating procedure for handling entry into Israel by Israeli citizens who reside in Gaza, in both Hebrew and Arabic. The petition alternatively requests that they publish temporary arrangements along with a schedule for publication of a permanent arrangement.
Gisha has been in contact with the Ministry of Interior regarding the publication of such a procedure since 2011. In response to petitions Gisha filed on behalf of individual clients, the ministry told the court that it was working on a procedure back in 2013. However, there has thus far been no publication of a procedure, temporary or permanent, for regulating the identification of Israeli citizens, issuance of passports, registration of children in the Israeli population registry and processing of entry by Israeli citizens who live in the Gaza Strip and are not registered in the Israeli population registry.
The number of Israeli citizens and permanent residents living in Gaza is somewhere between hundreds and thousands. Some have moved there because it was their only way to realize their right to family life. Some are children born to “divided families”, meaning one parent is an Israeli citizen and the other is a Palestinian resident. These children are entitled to Israel citizenship by birth.
Like all other Israeli citizens, citizens living in the Gaza Strip sometimes require the services of the Ministry of Interior and the Population Authority, such as for registration in the population registry and issuance of identification documents. However, there is no specific office or procedure for handling applications for Israeli identification documents made by citizens living in Gaza. As a result, their basic right to enter Israel, which is recognized in Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty, is often violated.
The practices employed to provide services to Israeli citizens residing in Gaza by the Israeli Ministry of Interior and the Population Authority are at present only helpful, and even then partially so, for citizens who are already registered in the Israeli population registry and have living relatives in Israel. This is insufficient and fails to answer the needs of many who require the respondents’ services.
On June 8, 2015, the Supreme Court (Honorable Justice Fogelman) instructed (Hebrew) the respondents to file a response within 45 days.