The first family visit in two years following a change of address
Ruweida ‘Abd al-‘Aziz was born in Gaza. In 1978, after her marriage to ‘Abdallah ‘Atamneh, a resident of the West Bank, she moved there with him. The couple has seven children, five of whom live in Jordan. Over the years, Ruweida travelled between the West Bank and Jordan through the Allenby Crossing. When she tried to do so in mid-2009, she was told for the first time that she could not leave through the crossing as her registered address is in Gaza and therefore her exit requires coordination. Representatives at the crossing gave no explanation for why she had been permitted to travel in previous years but was now not allowed. The Palestinian DCO told Ruweida they were unable to coordinate exits for residents whose registered address is in Gaza. At the same time, Ruweida could not change her registered address to the West Bank as Israel has refused to change Palestinians’ registered addresses since 2000. As a result, Ruweida was been unable to visit her children and grandchildren in Jordan.
Over the course of 2010, Gisha raised the issue of West Bank residents whose identity cards list Gaza as their address with the Office of the Quartet Representative to the Middle East, Tony Blair. In April 2011, Gisha contacted the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories requesting recognition of Ruweida’s residency in the West Bank. At that time, media reports indicated that Israel would change the address of 5,000 Palestinian residents from Gaza to the West Bank as a gesture to Tony Blair. Gisha promoted processing of Ruweida’s and other residents’ requests in the context of the gesture.
On April 28, 2011, Israel published a list of 298 names of Palestinian residents whose addresses would be changed from Gaza to the West Bank. Ruweida’s name appeared on the list and on May 19, 2011, she received an identity card listing her address as the West Bank – after 33 years of living there. The next day, Ruweida went to Jordan via Allenby Bridge without difficulty and reunited with her family, whom she had not seen for over two years.