Members of the Hamas terror organization and their first-degree relatives will be banned from making humanitarian visits to Israel, the government told the High Court on Monday.
It was responding to a petition submitted in November by the family of Hadar Goldin, who was killed in action during the Israel-Gaza war of 2014, known in Israel as Protective Edge, and whose body has been held by Hamas ever since.
The Goldins asked the High Court to force the government to fully implement a “plan of action” adopted by the security cabinet in January last year that called for further pressure to be levied against Hamas until the bodies of Goldin and Sgt. Oron Shaul, along with the two living Israelis being held in the Palestinian territory, were returned.
In its response, the government admitted that the cabinet’s decision to ban humanitarian visits had not been implemented in full, but said that since the Goldins’ petition, it had firmed up the regulations and instructed the coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories to reject all requests from Hamas members and their first-degree relatives for permits to enter Israel on humanitarian grounds.
The decision will affect permits to enter Israel for medical treatment and to visit Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails.
In a statement, the Goldin family said, “This is a small step in the great task of bringing back Hadar, who was a hero of Israel and who fell during the Protective Edge campaign.
“We have no desire for victory over the government of Israel in the courts. We do want victory over the terror organization Hamas and the return of Hadar and of Oren.”
Oded Savorai, one of the signatories to the Goldin’s petition, said, “It’s a shame that the government of Israel needs a petition to the High Court from the Goldin family to notice that cabinet decisions are not being implemented.
“We expect the government to give an order to put the decisions into practice, both in the case of family visits to prisoners and the return of terrorists’ bodies.”
The Goldins also pressed in their petition for a complete halt to the release of Palestinian terrorists’ bodies for burial until Hamas releases their son’s body.
In December, the High Court ruled that “the State of Israel, as a nation of laws, cannot hold on to corpses for the purposes of negotiations at a time when there is no specific and explicit law that allows it do so.”
It gave the government an ultimatum: pass a law within six months regulating the holding of Palestinian terrorists’ bodies as bargaining chips or hand them over to their families.
In December, the security cabinet said it would ask the High Court of Justice to review its decision on the legality of Israel holding onto the bodies of terrorists, rather than returning them to their families.