H., who lives in the Gaza Strip, is married to an Israeli citizen. They have seven children who live in Israel. Due to Israel’s permit regime, H. cannot visit his adult children unless one of them gets married or falls seriously ill (Israel also allows the father to travel if one of his children pass away, but that cannot be considered a visit).
H.’s daughter’s wedding was originally scheduled for March 2021, but postponed to June of that year due to the tightening of the Gaza closure during the coronavirus pandemic. The new date fell close to the end of Israel’s assault on Gaza (Operation Guardian of the Walls during which travel restrictions to and from Gaza were tightened again, and the wedding was postponed once more, to August 2021, so that H. could attend.
After H.’s permit application was denied for “failing to meet the criteria” or “raising justifiable cause to depart from the policy in place,” Gisha filed a petition (Hebrew) arguing that Israel had been denying Palestinians exit from the Gaza Strip to attend the weddings of first-degree relatives for 16 months as part of an arbitrary policy that violates their basic human rights.
Once the petition was filed, the announced the policy had been changed, and that permits would be issued for weddings. The petitioner’s application however, was denied on security grounds. Against the objection of the state, the court accepted our request to file an amended petition (Hebrew) against the security ban.
On August 30, 2021, the amended petition was heard, and the court reviewed the classified material. At Gisha’s request, the court suggested the state retract its refusal and allow H. to travel for 24 hours to attend the wedding. The state initially agreed on condition of a monetary guarantee, but ultimately retracted the demand, and H. departed the Strip and attended his daughter’s wedding.