100 women in Gaza are prohibited from meeting their husbands in the West Bank, due to Israeli restrictions
100 kilometers is the distance between the besieged Gaza Strip and the depth of the cities of the occupied West Bank, but Israel has made it impossible for more than 100 Gazan women to reach their husbands in the second part of the occupied and divided homeland.
For 16 consecutive years, Israel has been separating between married women who came to visit their families, and others who are engaged, and their husbands, as the occupation forces prevent women from obtaining visitor permits to the West Bank, and do not allow men to enter Gaza.
These women are called “stuck wives,” whose identity cards include their residence address in Gaza, while their husbands carry identity cards of their residence address in the West Bank, where they live.
“When are we going to Baba’s?” Why not live with us? Why are we forbidden to meet him? When will I go for treatment in the West Bank with Baba?”.. Questions pour down like rain from the nine-year-old girl, Jude Abu Sa’a, while her mother, Hanan Abu Ramadan, is unable to answer them, and she is the one who has been denied access to the Tulkarm governorate in the West Bank for three years by the occupation, where her husband resides. Ayman Abu Sa’a, after she came with her three children to Gaza, as part of the Israeli racist isolation measures against the Palestinians.
Jude is spending difficult days away from her father, along with her sister Ward (five years old) and her brother Ahmed (seven years old). The first is that it is not possible to perform the operation in the besieged Gaza hospitals, due to the lack of necessary resources, and the second reason is that she needs her father to be with her.
Hanan Abu Ramadan (34 years), who is also the coordinator of married wives in Gaza, told Emirates Today in an exclusive interview: “What separates us from our husbands is the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, which is controlled by the occupation, and a few kilometers we are forbidden to travel to the West Bank. West Bank, where our husbands reside, as a result of the occupation’s measures and arbitrary restrictions against us, which also prevent them from entering the besieged Strip.”
And she adds, asking: “Do our just human demands harm the occupation? We want to be complete families, not half-families as the occupation forcibly wanted us to, as it refuses to change our residential addresses from Gaza to the West Bank, because we and our children meet with our husbands, as part of a racist policy against us.”
In 2020, Hanan’s suffering associated with her husband, Abu Sa’a, began since 2012. This year, they were forced to return from a Gulf country after the end of his residency and his loss of work, as a result of the intensification of the Corona pandemic crisis.
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan was the destination of the couple and their children, but not all of them were able to reside there for more than a month, so Ayman was forced to go to the West Bank, and Hanan returned to Gaza with nostalgia, accompanied by Jude, Ahmed and Ward.
Abu Ramadan was forced to live in a rented apartment in the northern Gaza Strip alone with her children, as she is an orphan, and she has no one to turn to among her relatives, after all her attempts to meet her husband failed.
The last of these attempts was last October, when Hanan and her children headed to the port of Nuweiba in the Arab Republic of Egypt, but all of their dreams of meeting Ayman in Jordan evaporated before boarding the ship destined for it.
Abu Ramadan’s attempt was unsuccessful because of her and her children’s residence address in the identity card, which is Gaza, in addition to their lack of a permit to enter Jordanian territory, or the so-called “no-objection”, even though her husband possesses the Jordanian passport, because his residence is within the cities of the West Bank, so their wishes for a lifetime are lost. winds, and return to Gaza again.
16 years of deprivation
“Papa Habibi”… with absolute innocence, the 4-year-old child, Atta Salem, summed up his longing for his father, whom he had not seen since birth until this moment, except through social media.
Ahlam, the mother of the child, Atta, is considered the oldest married wife in Gaza, as a result of her and her children being deprived of returning to her husband, Ziad Salem, in the city of Ramallah since 2007, when she returned to Gaza to visit her parents, after 10 years of marriage.
Ahlam Salem (42 years old) spends her life deprived of her husband, accompanied by four sons and one daughter, the eldest of whom is Ahmed, who has not met his father for 16 consecutive years, and the youngest of whom is Atta (4 years), whom his mother gave birth to after she was able to travel as an escort with her sick mother to the West Bank. Occupied in 2018, to meet her husband without her children after a continuous 11-year separation between them.
After a full year, the occupation returned Ahlam again to Gaza, to give birth to her newborn, Ata, away from his father until this moment. Thus, the area of deprivation among Ahlam and her children widens, as a result of the racist Israeli measures in response to the demands to change the residence address in the identity card of the mother and her five children from Gaza to the West Bank. And allowing the family to join the father and live with him.
Ahlam told Emirates Today, in an exclusive interview: “My eldest son Ahmed was deprived of his father at a young age, and today he has his small family, to deprive my husband Ziad of meeting his son and embracing his grandson Ziad.”
Muhammad (23 years), the middle son, shared with his mother, Ahlam Al-Hadith: “I was deprived of my father’s embrace, and the warmth of his presence by my side in all stages of my life, from early childhood until the age of marriage at the present time.”
Women are referred to as “stuck wives”, whose identity cards include their residence address in Gaza, while their husbands carry identity cards of their residence address in the West Bank, where they live.
Ahlam is the oldest stranded wife in Gaza, as a result of her and her children being deprived of returning to her husband, Ziad Salem, in the city of Ramallah since 2007, when she returned to Gaza to visit her parents, after 10 years of marriage.
For many years, up to 16 continuous years, Israel has been separating between married women who came to visit their families, and others who are engaged, and their husbands, as the occupation forces prevent women from obtaining visitor permits to the West Bank, and do not allow men to enter Gaza.
Separation policy to isolate the sector
Outside the Erez Crossing (Beit Hanoun), which is the only pedestrian crossing between the Gaza Strip and “Israel”, dozens of Palestinian women and their children demonstrated carrying signs saying: “Save the wives trapped in Gaza” in Arabic and Hebrew, demanding their right to reunite with their husbands in West Bank.
They also demanded that the Israeli authorities allow them to change their addresses on their identity cards from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. This would allow them to reunite with their husbands who are either from the West Bank and married in Gaza, or originally from Gaza and live and work in the West Bank.
This process – which is considered almost impossible now – was relatively easy before the first intifada in 1987, but in the 1990s, Israel imposed new restrictions on the freedom of movement of Palestinians between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, and a separation policy to isolate the Strip.
At that time, Israel stopped the process of updating the addresses of Palestinians whose origins go back to Gaza, but who moved to the West Bank in its copy of the Palestinian population registry, and now they are treated as illegal aliens.
After Israel imposed its blockade on Gaza in 2007, the movement of Palestinians outside the Strip became practically impossible, according to the new Israeli policy that governs the movement of Palestinians between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. There is a very limited category of the population that can leave the besieged Strip, including urgent medical and humanitarian cases. , merchants, workers, employees of international organizations, and students who receive scholarships abroad, yet those who are eligible to obtain an Israeli exit permit wait weeks or months to obtain approval, and some of them may receive a refusal for unspecified security reasons, or even a refusal without any Explanation.