Two decisions in two petitions filed by Gisha for change of address for Palestinians living in the West Bank
The first petition was filed on behalf of a Palestinian woman and her young children. The petitioner has been living in the West Bank since 1991. Her young children were born in the West Bank and have lived there all their lives. Yet, still, 23 years after the move, despite the fact that she maintains a center-of-life in the West Bank and despite her requests to have her and her children’s address changed to reflect where they actually live, the address remains in the Gaza Strip.
On February 4, 2015, Honorable Justice Barak-Erez issued a decision (Hebrew) that outlined practical steps for resolving the issue. According to the decision, the petitioner would resubmit an application through the Palestinian Authority (PA) (under the Procedure for handling Applications by Gaza Strip Residents for settlement in the Judea and Samaria Area) and the respondents would consider it favorably.
Following the decision, the petitioner contacted the PA Civil Affairs Ministry, asking to have her and her children’s address changed. The PA official confirmed that the petitioner had previously filed an application for change of address and that the PA had transferred the application to the Israeli side, but no response was received. He provided the petitioner with written confirmation of the aforesaid.
Though the confirmation was provided to the court and to the respondents, and though the petitioner did everything in her power to follow the court’s instructions, the respondents insisted that the Israeli side did not receive the application and that the petition must be dismissed. The petitioners noted that the respondents’ position was unreasonable (Hebrew), and asked the court to consider the petition and make a ruling. Ultimately, on June 2, 2015, the judge issued a decision (Hebrew) to transfer the petition to a hearing before a panel. The petition will be heard on October 26, 2015, along with other petitions on Palestinians’ address changes to the West Bank.
The second petition was filed on behalf of a Palestinian journalist and academic, who has been living in the West Bank since 1995. His address remains in Gaza despite two decades of maintaining a center-of-life in the West Bank and despite his requests to have his address changed from Gaza to the West Bank to reflect where he actually lives.
The respondents were instructed to submit their response by April 12, 2015, but due to job action taken by the attorneys’ association, the response has not yet been submitted. Given the delay, Honorable Justice Hayut today issued an interim order as sought in the petition (Hebrew) and referred it to scheduling for a hearing before a panel. The hearing is scheduled for December 17, 2015.