The NGO Gisha had reason to believe, some ten days ago, that it won a small victory: The High Court of Justice, which couldn’t stomach the tricks of the security apparatus any longer, ordered it to explain why it rejects requests by four female students from Gaza to move to the West Bank to study there (we covered the case of a fifth student here). The HCJ rarely does that; when it does, it is generally a hint that the policy defended by the government is highly unreasonable.
The problem is the policy of the IDF, practiced with various degrees of severity over the last decade, preventing Gazans from travelling to the West Bank and vice versa. There is reason to believe that what the government calls a “policy of differentiation” (mediniut ha’bidul) is an attempt to sever the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, slowly pushing it towards Egypt. The IDF, which prides itself on being more moral than Hamas, does allow a small number of “humanitarian cases” to move from Gaza to the West Bank. It is not humanitarian enough, however, to allow children to move to the West Bank and live with their mothers, for instance. Even though the HCJ accepted the IDF position as a rule, it recommended several times that the IDF create an “exceptions committee,” to rule on exceptions to the ban. As par for the course, the IDF ignored this recommendation; hence the rather severe decision by the court.
But the triumphant feeling among Gisha workers (due notice: I sometimes provide Gisha with translation services on a freelance basis) quickly evaporated. Several days ago, Major General Eitan Dangot, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, gave the court his reply (it can be seen here, in a Hebrew pdf). In article 61 of the document, Dangot claims there is a security-related reason to prevent two of the petitioners (one and two) from entering the West Bank. Dangot claims that, regarding Petitioner 1, there exists “security intelligence” that she is “in contact with terror activists, including family members of the first degree”; as to Petitioner 2, he claims there is intelligence about “her activity in a terrorist organization, and her contact with terror activists, some of whom are family members of the first degree.” As for appellants 3 and 4, he says “given certain intelligence regarding them, as we are asked to examine...Read More