Following a High Court petition, the state agreed to permit a bride living in the Gaza Strip to travel via Israel to Jordan to attend her wedding with her fiancée who lives in Spain
Two weeks after filing a High Court petition (HCJ 7836/15 H.A.D. et al. v. Minister of Defense, dated November 18, 2015) Gisha was informed by the state that it is prepared to allow the bride to travel through Israel to reach Jordan in order to marry her fiancée who lives in Spain. The state said it would also allow the parents of the groom, who reside in Gaza, to attend their son’s wedding in Jordan.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories’ (COGAT) rejection of the request made by the bride and the groom’s parents was based on the argument that it did not “meet the criteria”. However, Gisha argued that one of the key criteria for allowing Gaza residents to travel abroad via Israel is for humanitarian reasons, including the wedding of a first-degree relative. Therefore, the residents’ request did meet the criteria. Gisha also maintained that there was no justification to distinguish between a relative of someone who is going to get married or the bride or groom her/himself, who are asking to exit Gaza for her or his own wedding.
The fact that the state granted the application made by the bride and the groom’s parents relatively soon after the High Court petition was submitted shows there was no justifiable reason to turn down the request in the first place. This conduct also demonstrates that, regrettably, residents of the Gaza Strip at times have no way to receive exit permits via Israel other than by petitioning the Israeli courts – even when their applications meet the army’s restrictive travel criteria.