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Israeli authorities require payment of a financial guarantee as a condition for granting a visit permit to the Gaza Strip for a Palestinian residing in Jordan.



Israeli authorities require payment of a financial guarantee as a condition for granting a visit permit to the Gaza Strip for a Palestinian residing in Jordan.

Published at 12.00 hours GMT on 10 September 1996

In an unprecedented decision by the Israeli authorities, a financial guarantee has been set as a condition for obtaining a permit to visit the Gaza Strip by a Palestinian in the Diaspora.

Hussein Abdul Kader Abu Mohaisen’s family has filed repeatedly for a visit permit for him to travel to the Gaza Strip to see his mother who is ill. Abu Mohaisen has been denied the right to return permanently to the Gaza Strip, like thousands of other Diaspora Palestinians, since the beginning of the Israeli occupation in 1967, because he was studying out of the country at the time Israeli military forces took control.

Although Israeli authorities have granted Abu Mohaisen several permits to visit the Occupied Territories since 1967, they have refused to do so since his last visit in 1993. Because Israel maintains control over the borders of the Occupied Palestinian Territories, it has reserved the power to grant or deny applications for visit permits to Palestinians living outside the Occupied Territories, including those territories under Palestinian jurisdiction.

Following repeated attempts by Abu Mahaisen’s family to acquire a visit permit for Hussein, his mother solicited the help of the legal staff of the Palestinian Centre. In early May 1996, the Palestinian Centre obtained power of attorney and subsequently filed a motion with the High Court of Israel on behalf of Abu Mohaisen.

On August 18, 1996 the Attorney General of Israel, Judge Michael Ben-Yair, ruled that Abu Mohaisen may visit the Gaza Strip with the following conditions:

    1) the visit is restricted to the Gaza Strip;

    2) the visit may last no more than 2 weeks;

    3) Abu Mohaisen must sign a pledge that he will leave the area within the specified time period;

    4) Abu Mohaisen will not be granted permission to visit in the future if he violates these conditions;

    5) a financial guarantee of NIS 10,000 (approximately $3,225) is to be deposited to the Israeli government.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights condemns the practice of imposing conditions, particularly financial requirements, upon the granting of visit permits to Palestinians residing outside the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It is especially concerned of the possibility that these, or similar, conditions may become normal procedure and imposed upon all Palestinian visitors to the Occupied Territories.

The Palestinian Centre urges the Palestinian Authority to address this decision with the appropriate liaison committee and work to abolish these conditions laid out by the Attorney General. In addition, all international bodies and organizations are called upon to intervene with the Israeli government on behalf of Palestinians in Diaspora for the abolishment of these conditions and grant free visitations to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

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