Following Gisha’s petition, a Gaza resident entered Israel to mourn her spouse together with her four minor children, residents and citizens of Israel
A hearing was scheduled for November 11, 2016, but when the permit was given, the petition was deleted and the hearing was canceled.
The story of Jihan Abu Habak and her family is a story of heartbreak, setbacks and desperation. Jihan, originally from the Gaza Strip, married an Israeli citizen in 1997. She lived with him in the country thanks to a temporary stay-permit, and the couple had four children. In 2007, the Israeli authorities suddenly refused to renew Jihan’s permit, and she had to return to Gaza, without her family. Her youngest son was less than a year old at the time.
Because of Israel’s restrictive policy on access to Gaza, and lack of familiarity with the procedures governing the rights of Israeli family members to visit Gaza, Jihan saw her children again only eight years later in February 2016, when her family entered Gaza for a visit. Even what should have been a trivial accomplishment was realized only after Gisha stepped in.
Last October, Jihan’s spouse became very ill, and she asked the Israeli army for permission to enter Israel to care for him, but never received an answer.
In late October, her spouse passed away. When the death certificate was issued, Jihan again asked for permission to enter Israel to take part in the mourning rituals alongside her children, who had been left with no parental care.
When two weeks passed with no response to this second urgent request, on November 8, 2016, Gisha decided that there was no choice but to petition the court to order Jihan’s entry into Israel (AP 1948-11-16 Abu Habak et al. v. Minister of Defense et al.).
The court recognized the urgency and scheduled a hearing for November 14, 2016.
Shortly after the state received notice of the hearing, the authorities suddenly approved Jihan’s entry into Israel and issued a permit for November 11, 2016.
But joy over the permit was premature. The permit was valid for three days only, clearly not enough time given the circumstances.
Gisha stepped in again, asking the army to extend the permit that had been issued, and managed to have it extended twice, until December 1, 2016.
Once the permit expired, Jihan returned to the Gaza Strip.
With Gisha’s mediation, Jihan is now receiving pro-bono legal aid from a lawyer from The Society of St. Yves. She hopes to regulate her status in Israel so that she can care for her children again.
The petition was deleted without a costs order.