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06 May: Tair Kaminer starts her fifth spell in gaol. Send messages of support via Reuven Kaminer

04 May: Against the resort to denigration of Israel’s critics


23 Dec: JfJfP policy statement on BDS

14 Nov: Letter to the Guardian about the Board of Deputies

11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

20 Oct: letter in the Guardian

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21 Aug: JfJfP on Jeremy Corbyn

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15 Dec: Chanukah: Celebrating the miracle of holy oil not military power

1 Dec: Executive statement on bill to make Israel the nation state of the Jewish people

25 Nov: Submission to All-Party Parliamentary Group Against Antisemitism

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19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

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28 Mar: EJJP letter in support of Dutch pension fund PGGM's decision to divest from Israeli banks

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24 Jan: Letter re the 1923 San Remo convention

18 Jan: In Support of Bab al-Shams

17 Jan: Letter to Camden New Journal about Veolia

11 Jan: JfJfP supports public letter to President Obama

Comments in 2012 and 2011



So the blockade has been eased?

gisha_logoIsrael Announces: No Easing for Travel of People Into and Out of Gaza

Announcement comes during court proceedings relating to a request by a lawyer in Gaza for an exit permit to reach her studies in human rights and democracy in the West Bank. The Court denied the petition.

Gisha press release, 8 July 2010

Thursday, July 8, 2010 – The Supreme Court yesterday rejected a petition submitted on behalf of Ms. Fatma Shatif, a human rights lawyer from Gaza, seeking to attend her Master’s studies in human rights and democracy in the West Bank. In a short verdict, the judges wrote that they had decided not to intervene in Israel’s policy, thereby permitting the continuation of the sweeping ban imposed by Israel since 2000, on the passage of students from Gaza to the West Bank for the purposes of reaching academic studies. Earlier in the proceedings, in its response to the petition, the State informed the Court that even under its “new” Gaza policy, there would not be an easing of restrictions on the passage of people to and from Gaza and that Israel will continue to permit travel only in “humanitarian and exceptional” cases, mainly relating to medical needs.

“It is not clear what Israel gains by preventing a talented young lawyer, against whom it makes no security claim, from deepening her understanding of human rights and therefore contributing to the development of a robust Palestinian civil society”, said Dr. Nomi Heger of Gisha, who argued the case. “I regret that the Court declined to follow its own case law and evaluate Ms. Sharif’s request in the framework which the court itself established in 2007, namely the need to consider exceptions to the general ban”.

Ms. Sharif, who studied law in Gaza, currently works as a lawyer at the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights in Gaza, a non-partisan organization whose goal is to promote human rights and democracy in the Gaza Strip. Ms. Sharif has worked for the last five years to defend human rights, including in a project to defend women against violence at the Center for Women’s Legal Research and Consulting. Since there is no relevant academic program in Gaza, Ms. Sharif enrolled in studies at Birzeit University, with the intention of returning to Gaza at the end of her studies, where she has a job waiting for her at Al Mezan. The Israeli authorities refused her request, on the grounds that she does not meet Israel’s criteria for exit from Gaza – “humanitarian and exceptional instances”, only.

Ms. Fatma Sharif: “Exchange of knowledge and expertise is critical to the self-fulfillment of people, in order to develop civil society in Gaza, especially where the subject is democracy and human rights. There will be no real improvement in Gaza until all persons – including students, families, workers, and patients – are able to travel freely”.

Since 2000 Israel has imposed a sweeping ban on the exit of Palestinian students from the Gaza Strip to study at Palestinian universities in the West Bank. A Supreme Court ruling from 2007 told the State to consider allowing access for students from Gaza wishing to study in the West Bank in “cases that would have positive human consequences”. In today’s hearing, however, the Defense Ministry admitted that since the ruling was handed down, Israel has not granted a single student from Gaza permission to travel to the West Bank for purposes of study.

The Defense Ministry’s written statement clarifies that the June 20 Cabinet decision on a change in Gaza policy is limited to relaxing restrictions on goods entering Gaza. Writing on behalf of the Defense Ministry, the State Attorney’s office clarifies that the Cabinet decision in no way expands the categories of people permitted to travel but rather will streamline procedures for processing travel requests: “Regarding passage for the population, the announcement [of June 20] did not say anything about expanding the current policy, which permits entrance in humanitarian cases, with emphasis on urgent medical cases … To be clear: this decision does nothing to expand the criteria, and it certainly does not permit passage for purposes of Master’s degree studies”.

For an updated information sheet by Gisha on what has changed – and not changed – in the movement of people into and out of Gaza

To view an excerpted translation of the Defense Ministry’s statement to the Court

For a fact sheet on the damage to higher Palestinian education as a result of the separation between Gaza and the West Bank

For “Safe Passage”, a new computer game that allows the player to interactively experience the travel restrictions between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank

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