Family reunited in the West Bank after more than two years

Nisreen Abu Ayash was born in the Gaza Strip. In 1994, she married Bashir, a resident of the West Bank. In March 2000, after spending several years in Jordan, the couple moved to the Gaza Strip, where Nisreen has lived ever since. The couple have five children, currently aged 16, 14, 12, seven, and two. At the beginning of 2009, Bashir’s work for the Palestinian Authority obliged him to move from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, and he was subsequently unable to enter the Gaza Strip. Nisreen and the children were unable to reunite with Bashir, as Israel’s policy is to allow visits from Gaza to the West Bank in "exceptional humanitarian cases" only.

In November 2010, HaMoked and Gisha submitted a petition to the High Court on behalf of Nisreen in order to allow her to travel from Gaza to the West Bank. Her case, as well as many others, are still pending in anticipation of a hearing on the principled matter of Gaza residents traveling to the West Bank. The principled matter is being handled and represented by HaMoked.
Meanwhile, in February 2011, Israel and the Quartet representative Tony Blair announced a package of gestures, including a promise to update the addresses of 5,000 residents of the West Bank who are currently registered as residents of the Gaza Strip in the Israeli-controlled Palestinian population registry. Following the publication of the gesture, Bashir submitted an application to change Nisreen’s address as recorded in her identity card. Nisreen was one of about 2,200 Palestinian residents whose addresses were changed to the West Bank until the date of publication .

After the address in her identity card was changed, Nisreen submitted an application to move to the West Bank with her children in order to be united with the father of the family. Gisha contacted the commander of the Gaza District Coordination Office, and after a few days the permit was issued. The family was reunited on June 21, 2011 after being separated for more than two years.

Depsite the happy news for the Ayash family, many Palestinian families continue to be separated from one another due to Israel’s refusal to change addresses in the population registry.