Qablan and others v Commander of the Military Forces in the Occupied Territories

Forum: Supreme Court of Israel
INTERIGHTS role: Third party interveners
Keywords: Movement, family, children, discrimination

INTERIGHTS has submitted a third party intervention before the Supreme Court of Israel, sitting as the High Court of Justice, in the case of Qablan and others v Commander of the Military Forces in the Occupied Territories (HCJ 6579/08).

The first and second petitioners in this case have requested permits to allow them travel from the West Bank to the Gaza Strip to visit the husband of the first petitioner, the father of the second petitioner. The respondent has refused to issue permits to allow for such travel unless the first and second petitioners agree to remain in the Gaza Strip and not return to the family home in the West Bank. The father of the family, a long time resident of the West Bank, has now been living in the Gaza Strip for over five years, having been refused permission to return to the family home, and is suffering from a serious illness. The first and second petitioners must either move permanently from their place of residence in the West Bank to the Gaza Strip where they may face grave difficulties, and where they have no home, no livelihood and no ties, or, alternatively, have no contact with their ailing husband and father who is now confined to that territory. This case is one of a number of cases before the Court challenging the refusal of the respondent to issue permits allowing free movement of persons between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

INTERIGHTS' intervention focuses on the right to freedom of movement, the right to family life and the rights of the child, and the prohibition on discrimination. It analyses international and comparative law approaches to comparable situations in order to provide assistance to the Court in interpreting the rights in question. The intervention suggests the Court should have regard to well established principles of international and comparative law and in particular to the extensive protections afforded the family by such laws, the emphasis on the rights of the child, and states' positive obligations where the issue of family reunification arises. It suggests that, having regard to international law standards, the restrictions on the first and second petitioners freedom of movement, which impact on so many other human rights, may be disproportionate to the aim sought to be achieved by the respondent. The intervention also highlights the fact that the restrictions on freedom of movement imposed by the respondent only affect persons of Palestinian origin and, in that context, discusses the prohibition on racial and ethnic discrimination with reference to well-established principles of international law.

Click here to read the third party intervention.

INTERIGHTS contact: Pádraig Hughes at