Gisha withdraws petition after Beersheva District Court denies request by Gaza family to exit Gaza for a visa interview at the American Consulate (AP 43092-04-16 A.H. et al. v. COGAT)
Petition deleted June 23, 2016
On April 21, 2016, Gisha filed an administrative petition with the Beersheva District Court sitting as the Court for Administrative Affairs, demanding it to instruct the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) to allow members of the H. family to enter Israel for a visa interview at the American Consulate in East Jerusalem. The family was planning to visit a son who is studying for his PhD in the United States. The family’s application for a permit was approved, but when they arrived at Erez Crossing on their way to Israel, they were delayed for hours, the mother was taken into an intrusive, humiliating “security interview”, and the family was ultimately told to return to Gaza “for security reasons (which the DCO is unauthorized to disclose)”.
The state insisted on its refusal to allow the family exit Gaza, and the early hearing of the petition was held on June 23, 2016, with Hon. Jus. Bitan reviewing the security material ex parte. The judge did press security officials on why the permit was approved and then denied on the date of travel if the security-related refusal was based on information they had had for quite some time, but ultimately, accepted their explanation.
Security officials argued (Hebrew) that “in recent months, given the situation in the Judea and Samaria Area, scrutiny of applications to travel from Gaza to Israel has been stepped up”, and that this led to the permit’s denial. The petition was ordered to be deleted from the court’s docket.