The petitioners, two sisters registered as residents of Gaza married to residents of Jordan and living in Jordan, arrived for a family visit in the Strip accompanied by their children in late January 2020. They entered Gaza via Erez Crossing with permits from Israel, and had planned to return home after about six weeks. In early March 2020, as the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Israel imposed a full lockdown at Erez, and the two sisters were unable to return to their home in Jordan.
The women waited for several months in the hopes that the closure would be relaxed, but in August 2020, when the policy still had not changed, they contacted Gisha for assistance. Given that coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel was suspended at the time, Gisha contacted (Hebrew) the Israeli Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration (Gaza CLA) to request for arrangements to be made for the petitioners’ prompt return to Jordan. From that point onwards, though the application was patently humanitarian, the Israeli authorities made unreasonable demands, drowning the petitioners in red tape with no way out. For instance, the respondents demanded the women provide a Jordanian non-objection document that is no longer issued (“adam mumanah“), and failed to respond to the women’s request within a timeframe required by the Jordanian authorities for their return. On January 6, 2021, after Israel had sent the petitioners on a five-month long wild goose chase, Gisha filed an urgent petition (Hebrew) on their behalf. In the petition, Gisha emphasized that the right to return to one’s home was fundamental, and argued that the state had acted in bad faith.
In its response (Hebrew) to the petition, the state persisted in bureaucratic arguments that the petitioners had no way of countering, but during the hearing held on January 21, the state representative did agree, at the recommendation of the court, to commit to providing a final answer to the sister’s request within the timeframe set by the Jordanian authorities.
On January 24, the state announced that their application had been accepted, and the next day, the two petitioners and their children exited the Strip en route home to Jordan. Once they were back in Jordan, the petition was deleted (Hebrew).