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Following HaMoked’s court petition: the military withdrew its objection to allow a woman from the West Bank to enter Israel to visit her imprisoned son

On December 31, 2014, HaMoked applied to the military to issue an Israeli entry permit for visiting prison to a West Bank resident whose son is incarcerated in Nafha Prison. This, after the woman had filed a visit request some eight months earlier at the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross, in compliance with the military’s procedure, but received no answer. On March 24, 2015, HaMoked received the military’s response that “the prisoner is not allowed visits”. This claim caused dismay, given that the mother told HaMoked that her other son had visited his brother the month before. Therefore, HaMoked reapplied to the military in late May 2015, to arrange an Israeli entry permit for the mother and allow her to visit her son in prison.

On April 21, 2015, HaMoked received another response from the military, whereby the mother’s request had been refused by security officials. Therefore, on April 29, 2015, HaMoked petitioned the Court for Administrative affairs to instruct the military to allow the mother to enter Israel to visit her son in prison. HaMoked noted that throughout 2014, it had to file 67 petitions over the military's non-response to requests for Israeli entry permits for visiting prisoners; and that this was the 21st such petition HaMoked had filed since the beginning of 2015. HaMoked pointed out that the applications of OPT residents for permits to enter Israel to visit their sons in prison, were filed in accordance with the procedure formulated in the framework of proceedings in the High Court of Justice on one of HaMoked's past petitions. Yet, HaMoked asserted, the military had not been upholding its part of the arrangement and routinely failed to meet the timetable established in court.

In the petition, HaMoked recalled that the right to family visits in incarceration facilities was a fundamental right of both the inmates and their families. HaMoked also reasserted that the human rights of an inmate, such as the right to family life, were guaranteed to him/her also in incarceration.

In its response to the petition, the state claimed that “a security preclusion was recorded against the petitioner” and that “the petitioner must not be allowed to enter Israel, given her involvement in the monetary activity of her incarcerated son”. HaMoked thereupon asked the court to schedule the petition for a hearing and examine whether the state’s response was proportionate. HaMoked also stressed that the aim of the woman’s entry to Israel was strictly visiting her son, who was held in a prison located within the borders of Israel – contrary to international humanitarian law.

Despite its initial objection, on October 15, 2015, the state announced that “given the passage of time and after the matter was re-examined by the relevant officials, it has been decided, only in the circumstances of this specific case, to approve the petitioner’s request and allow the visit”. As in numerous other cases, the state opted to wear down the Palestinian family and let the matter reach the court; but if the state had approved the request in the beginning, the petition would have been avoided and court time would not have been wasted. Following the state's notice, the hearing was cancelled with the parties' consent. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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