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Entry to Gaza to visit an invalid mother: the case of ZM
documents: 0  |  Updates: 1 ZM and her daughter, JM, are residents of East Jerusalem. ZM is blind from birth, and so needs her daughter constantly at her side. In fact, she never leaves home alone. Their family is poor and struggling–JM's husband earns low wages, working as a construction laborer, and is hardly ever at home. ZM's own mother is a 68 year old widow who lives alone in the Gaza Strip. In January 2010, after ZM's mother suffered a stroke, ZM and JM applied to the Israelis Bureau of the District Coordination Office (DCO) in Gaza, for permits to enter Gaza together with JM's four small children, in order to visit the invalid mother., the DCO notified in response that JM would be allowed as an exception to enter Gaza, but without additional company. Note, the arrangement for the entry of Israelis into Gaza in exceptional cases, clearly stipulates that a person who has been allowed entry into Gaza, can take his small children along. This is clearly expedient, as is it impossible that in order to allowed into Gaza, the mother would be required to leave her small children behind.

HaMoked wrote to the Gaza DCO, stating that leaving the children behind was impossible, as their father would not be able to look, and this would make the entire trip impossible, given that the blind mother was completely dependent on her daughter. HaMoked also recalled that previously ZM had been allowed to enter Gaza with her daughter and grandchildren. The application was rejected, again, without explanation. In view of the humanitarian circumstances of the case, HaMoked filed an urgent petition to the High Court of Justice.

The state responded to the petition with general statements only, to the effect that the refusal to allow the children's entry to Gaza stemmed from "the need to strike a balance between the various interests which exist is the cases of Israelis who seek entry to Gaza [...] and the aforesaid security concerns and policy concerns regarding the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by a terror organization". As a compromise, HaMoked suggested that the two elder children would remain in Jerusalem and only the two younger, aged 5 and 7, would travel with their mother. The state objected to this as well. In the hearing, the justices criticized the state's position, particularly its claim that by granting a permit to the companion, it had already met the petitioners "half way". The court therefore instructed the state to reconsider the matter once more. Having reconsidered, the state announced it would allow the two younger children to enter Gaza, as HaMoked had suggested.

Following HaMoked's petition: the state allows two children, ages 5 and 7, to accompany their mother on a visit to the Gaza Strip (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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