Dear friends and colleagues,
This year marked the somber milestone of 15 years of Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip and a fifth, major military attack by the Israeli army. Gisha’s principled work in defense of freedom of movement continued against the backdrop of sustained attacks on human rights and shrinking space for civil society work. In the coming year, our collective efforts will be more critical than ever in combatting the effects of a maniacal government bent on further solidifying Jewish supremacy, including through obstructions on freedom of movement and fragmenting Palestinians one from another.
Gisha’s legal work lies at the heart of this fight, but often the day-to-day efforts of Gisha’s amazing legal team aren’t visible. While each individual case is a world unto itself, the sum total also reveals the efforts of the Israeli authorities to block movement and engineer demographics, with disregard for the lives at stake. As long as we have access to the courts, defending these cases compels the authorities to contend with our protest of their policies and meet their obligations to Palestinians in Gaza.
- In 2022, Gisha continued to defend the rights of people seeking to return home to the West Bank from Gaza, despite the efforts of the authorities to prevent travel even of Palestinians registered as West Bank residents. Among dozens of cases like these that Gisha defended this year, there is this remarkable story of a woman and her six children (one of whom has a heart condition) who were able to move to the West Bank, where her son will have better access to medical care.
- Gisha challenged an arbitrary and cruel directive that denies Palestinian citizens of Israel who made a life in the Strip the possibility of continuing to live in Gaza ‘legally’ following the loss of their partner. The widows, who tend to be women, are told that they are no longer eligible to reside in Gaza. If they exit to Israel, including to visit family, they risk not being allowed to return home to the Strip. Gisha helped several widows exit and return, as the state tried to avoid a principled hearing on their cases. We will continue to challenge the directive in the coming year.
- We have seen a heartening rise in successes in cases where Gisha assisted residents of Gaza to pursue professional aspirations, whether by accessing studies or professional development. One such case involved two physicians traveling to the West Bank to take the medical certification exam. Gisha also represented 58 traders from the Strip working in a variety of industries and fields; we managed to restore permits to 15 people and continue to represent 17 more businesspeople trying to engage in their livelihoods by accessing the West Bank and Israel.
We must not give up the fight. Get involved by making a contribution today.
All of us at Gisha wish you and your loved ones happy holidays and all the best for 2023.
Gisha Executive Director