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Israeli restrictions on movement split Palestinian families
Published Tuesday 21/01/2014 (updated) 31/01/2014 20:48
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A Palestinian family warm themselves by a a fire next their shop on a
rainy day in Al-Shati refugee camp in Gaza City on Dec. 11, 2013
(AFP/File Mohammed Abed)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel's restrictions on Palestinian movement between Gaza and the West Bank is separating relatives and making family life impossible for tens of thousands of people, an Israeli human rights report said Monday.

Jointly published by rights watchdogs B'Tselem and HaMoked, the 42-page report documents the impact of Israel's policy of tightly restricting Palestinian movement into and out of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

"Israel’s declared policy of isolating the Gaza Strip severely violates the right to family life of tens of thousands of Palestinians living in split families, divided between Gaza and Israel, or between Gaza and the West Bank," it said.

Current Israeli policy bars Gazans from traveling to the West Bank except in extremely rare circumstances. And although West Bank residents are permitted to go to Gaza, they have to commit to stay there, the report said.

"Israel prohibits all passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, except in very few exceptional humanitarian cases of first-degree relatives involving serious illness, death or a wedding," it said.

Even then, not all requests are accepted, or are granted too late.

After the 1967 Six Day War when Israel seized Gaza and the West Bank, it allowed Palestinians relative freedom of movement between the two territories, but during the first uprising (1987-1993), restrictions were stepped up, ostensibly for security reasons.

The policy changed in 2006 when Israel first imposed a blockade on Gaza after militants there seized an Israeli soldier, and was tightened again a year later after Hamas forcibly took control.

Women were particularly affected, the report said, noting that marriage meant a woman was expected to leave her family and move into her husband's home.

"Israel's policy ... is especially detrimental to women ... as the restrictions on their freedom of movement effectively sever them from their families of origin," the organizations said.

The report urged the Israeli government to "respect the rights of all Palestinian residents to family life and freedom of movement."

In response, Israel's justice ministry acknowledged the "hardship" the policy was causing, but said it was necessary for security reasons.

The Gaza Strip is "a hostile territory controlled by a murderous terrorist organization (Hamas) that routinely operates against a civilian population and whose self-declared goal is the annihilation of the State of Israel," it said.

"Permitting passage between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would entail a substantial security risk," the ministry said, insisting the policy was "a regretful side effect" of the "strategy of terrorism and violence" pursued by Palestinian militants.
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1 ) Mira / Vienna
21/01/2014 11:32
You forgot to mention that Israels allows every family to be reunited, just not in WB and for clear reasons!How stupid do you think the Israelis are?

2 ) Carol Scheller / Switzerland
21/01/2014 12:57
Stupid ? Did you watch the video that B'Tselem published with the report ?

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
21/01/2014 21:59
To Mira #1: 'How stupid do you think the Israelis are?' Pretty stupid -- since you ask. That's a good thing, of course -- they could really drag the existence of their state out if they went about it intelligently. However, more to the point, they're also evil. They never miss a chance to inflict suffering on their victims.

4 ) Johnnybenson / USA
23/01/2014 01:35
Colin......a tough Jew....hard to take....isn't it?.

5 ) gabi / australia
24/01/2014 08:34
Johnnybenson/USA - easy to be tough when you are pointing an AK47 in the face of a terrified child - which often happens, doesn't it? Oh well, you say, that little kid was throwing stones at poor little ol' us - we might get hit in our helmets - must put a stop to that." No, I'm not ranting, just bloody angry at your incessant ramblings, justifying every atrocious thing the "light to all nations" does. "My country, right or wrong". Oh no, wait there, silly me, it is not even your country. . .
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