On February 1, 2022, we filed a petition (Hebrew) on behalf of a Gaza resident who had been refused a permit to exit Gaza in order to visit her mother, who lives in the West Bank and has metastatic cancer, with her four minor children. The application was denied “for security reasons, which naturally cannot be disclosed.”   

In the petition, Gisha argued Israel makes extensive use of “security reasons” to deny permit applications filed by Palestinians without providing reasoning. These arbitrary decisions force applicants to file court petitions and deprive them of the ability to defend themselves, as the basis for the decision is concealed. Gisha further noted that even in cases where security grounds for refusal are seemingly present, the particular circumstances of the case should be considered. In the petitioner’s case, the application concerned visiting her sick mother, whom she had not seen for many years, while, due to the severity of her condition, there was fear the two would never be able to see each other again.    

After the petition was filed, the petitioner was called in for questioning, following which the block was “lifted.” The petitioner and her children received permits, but the state’s abuse did not end there. After the permits were issued, it emerged that their end date had erroneously been listed as Saturday, February 19, 2022. Since Erez Crossing is closed on Saturdays, we contacted the attorney handling the case ahead of time and were told that the petitioner would have to return on Sunday, February 20, 2022. Nevertheless, when she arrived at Tarqumiya Crossing in the West Bank with her four children, the soldiers would not allow her to return home as she was “late” and sent her to Qalandiya Crossing. She made the hours-long journey to Qalandiya with her children, but soldiers there denied her passage as well. It took two more days and negotiations with the State Attorney’s Office before the petitioner managed to return to Gaza with her children.