The petitioner, a 75-year-old widow, lives in the West Bank. On March 3, 2020, she entered the Gaza Strip with a permit to attend her grandson’s wedding. Israel gave her a permit to return to the West Bank valid for March 8, 2020, but on that day, it closed the crossing for the Jewish holiday of Purim. The holiday closure was immediately followed by the halt on travel between the Gaza Strip, West Bank and Israel, announced on March 12, over fears of the spread of the coronavirus, exempting only exceptional humanitarian cases.

Realizing she would not be able to return home immediately, the petitioner waited, hoping for the situation to improve and the crossings to open. For three months, she was repeatedly told that travel was reserved for life-saving medical cases. The petitioner found it increasingly difficult to remain in Gaza as time went on, as she needed medical treatment and medication in the West Bank and felt she could no longer impose herself on her relatives in Gaza.

On June 23, 2020, we contacted the Gaza CLA on her behalf but were referred to the Civil Administration, which never bothered to answer the request. In a petition (Hebrew) filed on July 8, 2020, Gisha argued that the state’s disregard of the petitioner’s requests and its foot-dragging was a violation of the petitioner’s rights to return home and to freedom of movement and, as such, an abdication of the duty incumbent on an administrative authority to act fairly and process applications within an appropriate time frame.

On July 16, 2020, the state filed an updating notice (Hebrew) with the court, stating that it had approved the petitioner’s application. The petitioner returned to her home that day. The state, therefore, asked to cancel the hearing and have the petition deleted without a costs order. Gisha consented to have the petition deleted but requested to make arguments on the issue of costs. Parties’ arguments on this issue have been submitted, but the court has yet to issue a decision.