February 17, 2019. Gisha submitted a petition on behalf of a 27-year-old physician who completed medical school in Egypt in 2016. In 2017, she completed a one-year residency in the Strip. In order to practice medicine, she needed to take professional exams administered by the Palestinian Medical Council in Ramallah.
In 2018, the petitioner applied for a permit to travel from Gaza to Ramallah to complete her certification and residency exams. Israel denied the application on the unspecified grounds that the petitioner was under a “security block.” Gisha filed a High Court petition, at which point the security-related travel ban was suddenly retracted before the hearing had taken place. The court issued a 3,000 ILS costs order against the state, in favor of Gisha (HCJ 1315/18).
In February 2019, the petitioner needed to take an additional set of examinations, and Israel again denied her application based on unspecified security grounds. In the petition (Hebrew), Gisha argued that, as it had in 2018, Israel had again issued an arbitrary, unfounded “security block” against the petitioner. We further argued that the Gaza Civil Liaison Administration (CLA), the Israeli authority vested with the power to grant or deny permit applications submitted by Gaza residents, should be expected to give more weight to the purpose for which the petitioner was requesting a permit, in light of the dire state of Gaza’s healthcare system and the severe shortage of physicians in the Strip. Far from this being the case, the CLA’s decision to outright ban the petitioner from traveling serves as yet another indication of its role as rubber-stamp for the Israel Security Agency. We emphasized that the CLA is legally required to use its independent discretion when denying or approving Gaza residents’ permit applications, and had failed to do so in this case.
Immediately after the petition was filed, the state withdrew its initial denial of the petitioner’s permit application and granted her permits for the dates she had requested. At our request, the court ordered the petition deleted and issued (Hebrew) a costs order for 2,500 ILS in favor of Gisha.