Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip who had appealed to the Israeli High Court to be allowed to visit their family members held in Israeli detention camps faced disappointment on Wednesday when the Israeli High Court denied their appeal.The Israeli government placed a ban on all family visitations to Palestinians from Gaza held inside Israel in detention camps and facilities beginning in 2007, when the democratically-elected Hamas government took power in the Gaza Strip.

Justice Esther Hayut, who issued the decision, stated, ‘It is true that the security prisoners are entitled to rights and these should not be withheld beyond what is necessary. (However,) we do not believe that the alleged harm to the prisoners justifies canceling or changing the government’s practice, given the fact that it is based on legitimate policy which, at this point in time, restricts entry from Gaza to Israel.’

The lawsuit challenging the ban on visits was filed by HaMoked – the Center for the Defense of the Individual, and Adalah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights.

These groups claim that the ban on family visits violates the Fourth Geneva Convention on the rights of prisoners and their families. Israel is a signatory of the Fourth Geneva Convention.