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The state has been preventing a Palestinian woman from visiting her son incarcerated inside Israel, claiming she is not his mother: even after acknowledging their family tie, the state continues to hamper the visit

For many years Israel has been holding Palestinian inmates from the OPT inside its territory, contrary to international law. The incarceration of Palestinians in prison and detention facilities inside Israel results in a severe violation of the right to family visits in prison of both the inmates and their families. This is exacerbated by the fact that residents of the OPT must seek a permit from the military in order to enter Israel, even for the purpose of visiting their relatives held in Israel. Moreover, the military often drags its feet in processing relatives’ applications for an entry permit.

Thus in the case of a 74-year-old woman from the West Bank, whose son is in a prison inside Israel. The woman’s application for a permit was long left unanswered, and for many more months so was HaMoked’s application on her behalf, sent July 21, 2016.

In view of the flagrant deviation from the stipulated deadline for response, and give the severe violation of the right to family life, HaMoked petitioned the Jerusalem District Court on February 8, 2017, to instruct the military to issue the woman an Israeli entry permit so she could visit her son.

In its response of March 21, 2017, the state raised the perplexing claim that the woman was not the inmate’s mother and hence her application had been refused. The state maintained that the family link between the woman and the prisoner was not recorded in the Palestinian population registry. The state even referred to the woman as widow and mother of four, when actually she is married and has eight children.

As noted by HaMoked in its response to this preposterous claim, the woman rushed to the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior, where she discovered there was no error in the records: she was registered as a mother of eight, among them the prisoner. HaMoked stressed that during the past ten years of the son’s incarceration in Israel, the mother had received countless permits from the military to visit him, and that it was unacceptable for the state to shift the blame for the military’s mistakes onto the mother, who only wished to see her son.

Despite all this and the presentation of the son’s identity card bearing the mother’s name, the state continued to reject the family link, refusing to issue the mother with a permit.

Therefore, on May 21, 2017, the court held a hearing on the petition and ordered the parties to “submit an updating notice by June 6, 2017, on whether the records concerning the petitioner and her son have been updated with the Respondent”.

Four days later, the state announced that following an enquiry with the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior, it now accepted that the woman was the prisoner’s mother. But its laconic notice did not address the petition’s core issue: giving the mother a permit to allow her to visit her prisoner son.

HaMoked continues its efforts to have an Israeli entry permit issued to the mother. (02) 627 1698   (02) 627 6317

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