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Does a 7 Km Journey between the Village and the City endanger Israel? (PHR-IL)
by Physicians for Human Rights- Israel
1:44am Fri Jul 18 '03
The case of Saad Haruf represents an example of the utter ruination of the Palestinians' lives caused by the permit policy, which requires that their every movement, for three years now, be coordinated with the Israeli authorities.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
17 June 2003
Does a 7 Kilometer Journey between the Village and the City endanger Israel?
"The occupying power may not, suspend indefinitely all freedom of movement
collectively on an entire area…"- 'The Villages Deir al Hatab, `Azmut &
Salim in the Nablus Governorate', OCHA paper 15 April 2003.
On 13 July, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel turned to the Coordinator of the Government's Activities in the Occupied Territories, and demanded that Israeli army officials and the Civil Administration stop the practice of
requiring Palestinians to have permits to travel within the West Bank and should allow freedom of movement for the residents of the Occupied Territories so that they may manage their day to day lives, ranging from medical treatment to education and the economy. This was done following a number of cases that PHR-Israel handled in which the organization encountered this policy of the Civil Administration and Health Coordinator, which requires that Palestinians obtain a permit to travel even between one
Palestinian village or city to another within the West Bank. PHR-Israel turned to security officials in the past stressing that Israel, as an occupying power, does not have the right to restrict movement of the Palestinians in such an absolute manner. The matter reached its zenith in
the case of Saad Haruf, who requested to travel from the village Odala to Nablus in order to visit his child- an infant- in the hospital.
The case of Saad Haruf represents an example of the utter ruination of the Palestinians' lives caused by the permit policy, which requires that their every movement, for three years now, be coordinated with the Israeli authorities. Abed Haruf, aged one year, the son of Saaf Haruf from the
village Odela, was hospitalized in El-Watani hospital in Nablus for five days. The baby suffered from anemia. The father wished to visit his child, and tried to reach Nablus via Hawara checkpoint. However, his passage was hindered based on the claim that he did not have a permit allowing passage to Nablus. The organization Machsom Watch turned to the Humanitarian Center at the Civil Administration, but was denied as well. An inquiry done by PHR-Israel with the office of the Health Coordinator revealed that Mr. Haruf
was deemed "prohibited" and that they should turn to the Humanitarian Center in order to remove the prohibition. However, Mr. Haruf's request had already gone through that center…
It should be noted that this is the first time that PHR-Israel has encountered a formal reply regarding a person deemed "prohibited on security grounds" to travel within the Occupied Territories themselves. The policy of
restricting freedom of movement, and the requirement that Palestinians must be equipped with permits for every step taken, has been increasingly more strictly implemented in the past months. This nearly completely paralyzes Palestinian daily life. The office of the Health Coordinator did in fact relate to PHR-Israel that this case is extremely rare, especially since it deals with the passage from a village to the close main city. However, the
policy, it was related, stems from the very fact that the army is in the Occupied Territories. It was also admitted to PHR-Israel that many people do not request permits and make their way to the city without one.
By prohibiting the passage of the sick child's father, the permit policy in the Occupied Territories has become completely absurd. This policy is the cause of the economic paralysis and the destruction of the essence of life of the Palestinian society. Furthermore, it seems that the security claims are nothing more than excuses for a policy of humiliation and violation of rights, for it is quite clear that a healthy person intent on committing a
violent attack can bypass the checkpoints via the mountains and other ways and will not request a permit from the DCO. The State of Israel has the right to prohibit entrance into its own territory, but is does not have the right to establish checkpoints and roadblocks as a means of preventing Palestinians' freedom of movement within the Occupied Territories.
After PHR-Israel sent an urgent letter demanding Mr. Haruf's free passage, while threatening with a high court petition, and after turning to the media, the Health Coordinator at the Civil Administration took the trouble
to act for the father. However, it then became known that on that same day, the baby was released and therefore the Health Coordinator's help was no longer needed. However, it was promised that the father would be allowed to
accompany his son, in another few days, when he went for more examinations in the hospital.
The individual case of Saad was solved- at least for now- however, Israel's involvement in the every movement of Palestinian residents of the Occupied Territories continues with its destructive consequences each day.
For more details on freedom of movement in the Occupied Territories:
For more information please contact Physicians for Human Rights-Israel +972-3-687-3718.
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