Beersheva District Court dismisses petition by Gaza resident to visit her husband who is incarcerated in Israel (AP 44356-03-16, R. v. COGAT)
On March 21, 2016, Gisha filed a petition (Hebrew) with the Beersheva District Court sitting as the Court for Administrative Affairs, asking that the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) be instructed to allow R., a resident of Gaza, to enter Israel in order to visit her spouse, who is incarcerated in the Ramon prison. R.’s requests to take part in prison visits that are organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross have been consistently refused by the Gaza DCO, and as a result, the couple has not seen each other for nearly four years.
The state insisted on the refusal (Hebrew), claiming that the petitioner was under a security preclusion which barred her from entering Israel, even for a very short visit to see her spouse in prison. On May 9, 2016, the court held a hearing, during which, Honorable Judge Avida reviewed the security material ex parte, meaning the petitioner had no access to the reasons behind her security preclusion. At the closing of the hearing, the judge said (Hebrew) she would not instruct the state to approve the petitioner’s request, despite the fact that the couple had not seen each other for a long time and that visits by Gaza residents to Israeli prisons are particularly closely monitored. The judge also refused to instruct the state to reexamine the security material in six months, but, according to counsel representing the state, the petitioner would be able to file a new application and it will be examined in light of the security material against her at the time. The petition was, therefore, deleted.