Following Gisha’s High Court petition: Parents in Gaza to benefit from workshop encouraging reading to children

Following a petition submitted to the High Court by Gisha, the Israeli army agreed to allow Ms. Elzghir, a resident of Bethlehem, to travel to Gaza in order to lead a workshop promoting reading to children.

Ms. Elzghir founded Ghirass, a cultural, educational, and recreation center in Bethlehem in 1993. In the past two years, the center has run a program encouraging parents to read to their young children. The program, "Born to read/Read to me", is designed to encourage families to read together on a daily basis. Recently, Ms. Elzghir requested to travel to Gaza to conduct two days of training, starting today, that will allow professionals in Gaza to adopt the program there. However, after one month, the army had failed to reply, despite a Supreme Court ruling requiring the army to reply to requests to travel between the West Bank and Gaza at least five working days before the planned travel date.

At the end of a hearing on the petition, which took place on Thursday morning, 25.11.2010, the justices of the High Court issued a conditional order and announced that they would deliver a verdict by Sunday morning. This decision indicates the court’s disapproval of the army’s failure to respond to the request and the consequent prevention of Ms. Elzghir’s travel. Meanwhile, as a result of the submission of the petition, the army announced this morning that it will allow Ms. Elzghir to travel.

The military’s disregard of Ms. Elzghir’s request, which forced her to petition the High Court, is an illustration of the policy preventing movement between the West Bank and Gaza, without security justifications, and which impedes the normal functioning of civilian life in the Palestinian Territory.