N. is a forty-year-old resident of the Gaza Strip who has thyroid cancer. Her doctors determined that she needed critical treatment that is not available in Gaza, and referred her for treatment at a hospital in the West Bank. She submitted an application for a permit in October 2021, and although she was asking to access critical, life-saving treatment, her application was denied. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, which was helping N. with the application, was told that she had a relative who was in the West Bank “unlawfully,” and therefore, there was concern that she would also take advantage of the permit to remain in the West Bank. N. scheduled three more appointments and filed three more applications. Some were never answered, and the reply to the most recent one stated that it had been denied due to “concern over illegal stay.”
Though the Israeli authorities never indicated which relative was the cause of their refusal, N. presumed it was her ex-spouse who had left her and their five minor children and moved to live in the West Bank. Therefore, she included with her next application a document bearing the signature of the Sharia Court indicating that she had filed a claim against her spouse after the separation, which was still pending. When there was no response, Al Mezan contacted the Jerusalem District Attorney’s Office warning that legal action would be taken. Still, there was no response to her application.
As N.’s condition deteriorated, Gisha filed an urgent petition (Hebrew) on February 3, 2022, demanding that the state respond positively to N.’s request for a permit to allow her to reach the treatment she needed. In the petition, Gisha argued that the respondents’ refusal based on her former spouse’s presence in the West Bank, endangering her right to health and to life, severely violated her inherent fundamental rights as it put her life in danger.
After the petition was filed, the respondents stated that they were prepared to issue N. a single-day permit, on the condition that she sign an undertaking to return home to Gaza once the treatment was completed. The petition would remain pending until she did so. In our response, we noted that a single-day permit would not be helpful as the petitioner had to remain in the West Bank until the treatment was completed. Furthermore, we argued that the requirement amounted to subjecting her right to life to conditions and that it violated the petitioner’s dignity. The court accepted (Hebrew) our argument regarding the permit’s duration, but held that the request for her signature undertaking her return to Gaza was proportionate even in the circumstances of severe illness.
N. exited Gaza for the hospital on February 22, 2022, received treatment, and returned to the Strip on March 2, 2022. After she returned, Gisha asked for the petition to be deleted with a costs order in favor of the petitioner, as she received the remedy sought in the petition.