The judges accepted the Israeli state’s argument that they are not obligated to permit Palestinians in Gaza to study in the West Bank, reaffirming a 12-year ban, Israeli rights group Gisha said.
“Despite the split in the Palestinian government, Gaza and the West Bank still constitute a single territorial unit, where people maintain countless familial, economic and educational ties, and where Israel is obligated to allow travel, subject only to individual security checks, Legal Director Nomi Heger said.
Issam Younis, the director of Gaza’s Al Mezan Center, which also took part in the petition, called the decision a continuation of Israel’s “collective punishment” against residents of the Gaza Strip.
“Israel’s insistence on not allowing the students to reach their studies violates their right to freedom of movement and to access higher education at the Palestinian institutions established for their benefit,” he said.
Israel introduced a blanket ban on Palestinians from Gaza studying in the West Bank in 2000, following the outbreak of the second intifada.
Four of the students in the case had begun studying gender studies and human rights and democracy at Birzeit University before the ban was introduced. They forced were to leave without completing the masters program, which is not available in Gaza’s universities. The fifth petitioner wanted to pursue a law degree at Birzeit.