This week we filed a petition on behalf of Tareq (pseudonym), a Gaza resident, father of six, and the sole provider for both his and his son’s families. Until recently, Tareq held a “financial needs” permit, issued by Israeli authorities, allowing him to exit the Strip to work as a laborer in Israel.
More than a month before his permit expired, Tareq filed an application for an extension. To his astonishment, the very next day his request was denied by the Israeli authorities “for unspecified security reasons,” though his current permit remained valid. In other words, Israel imposed a future “security block” on Tareq.
The answer Tareq received contains an absurd internal contradiction: Israel essentially decided that Tareq did not pose any danger at the time he applied for the renewal of his permit, but that in a month’s time, his entry to Israel would supposedly endanger the security of its citizens. If Tareq had posed any real threat, his permit would have been revoked immediately. The case highlights how Israel abuses its power to arbitrarily restrict Palestinians’ movement under the guise of so-called “security” reasons.
In response, Gisha filed a pre-petition letter on behalf of Tareq, to which the state replied claiming that Tareq had “concealed information.” He was also summoned for questioning at Erez Crossing. According to Tareq, he arrived at Erez in the early morning and had to wait 11 hours before he was called in to talk to Israeli officials. Given Israel’s limitations on what one can bring to the crossing, he didn’t have food or water and his cell phone was taken away from him. Before entering the room for questioning, Tareq underwent a humiliating physical search. During the questioning, he was asked about his family and friends, his Israeli employers, the mosque he frequents, and about people he’d never heard of. The ordeal ended at 10 p.m., and Tareq was released back home.
For six months now, Tareq has been unable to work in Israel. This week, we petitioned the District Court in Beer Sheva, demanding his work permit be renewed immediately. Despite the urgency of his situation, the court granted the state a month to submit its response to the petition.