Court postpones hearing over request by Gazan to study in England

The High Court of Justice on Sunday decided to postpone until next week the hearing on a petition demanding that the state allow a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip who was studying in England, and his wife, to travel abroad. The court said it wanted to wait and see how Israeli policy toward the Gaza Strip takes shape after its declaration that Gaza is "hostile territory." Last week, the security cabinet declared Gaza a hostile territory and said it would take harsher measures against it by, among other things, further restricting movement in and out of it. Until September 6, Israel had allowed four busloads of students and workers to exit Gaza via the Erez crossing and go from there to Egypt via Nitzana. According to the petition filed by the human rights organization Gisha, the student and his wife, there are no security reasons justifying the refusal to let him return to his university, where courses resume after summer break on October 1. Meanwhile, the state informed the court that as of September 11, it had stopped the buses to Nitzana because of the deteriorating security situation. However, the state's representative, Itai Ravid, added that should the bus service resume, "it is highly likely their departure will be approved." During Sunday's brief hearing, Justice Esther Hayut told the state's representative, "You must find a creative solution. You can't trap people when you yourselves say they can leave." According to Gisha director-general Sara Bashi, there are about 5,000 Palestinian students and workers studying and working outside of the Gaza Strip. Of these, about 800 are currently stuck in Gaza, unable to leave and return to their studies or jobs.