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Israel sends 14-year-old Palestinian girl from West Bank to Gaza

While Israel Prison Service insists the teen is a Gaza resident according to official records, rights group says she’s never been there in her life

Palestinians prepare to cross from Israel into the Gaza Strip at the Erez Crossing, September 3, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)
Palestinians prepare to cross from Israel into the Gaza Strip at the Erez Crossing, September 3, 2015. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

A Palestinian teenager from the West Bank arrested by Israel was sent to the Gaza Strip despite never having been there in her life, an NGO said Wednesday.

Israeli rights group HaMoked said the 14-year-old girl, named only as Ghada, was arrested in Jerusalem on January 13 without a permit while visiting the city.

A spokesman for the Israel Prison Service said they were examining the case, stressing, however, that according to official records the girl was a Gaza resident.

While Ghada is from al-Ram a few miles north of Jerusalem, her father is originally from the Gaza Strip, HaMoked said.

HaMoked said the girl was told she would be dropped off at a checkpoint near her home but on her release on January 16 instead was taken to the Erez crossing into Gaza.

Abir Joubran-Dakwar, HaMoked’s lawyer dealing with the case, said they had not yet received a response from Israel about when she could return.

She said Ghada had never been in Gaza before and did not know anyone there, though she was now staying with members of her extended family.

“No one told her anything — they told her they would send her to Qalandia (the checkpoint near her home) but they sent her to Erez,” she said.

She said Ghada has epilepsy and was concerned the stress could affect her condition.

Twenty-seven Palestinians living in the West Bank were forcibly sent to Gaza last year, according to military data gathered by HaMoked.

Joubran-Dakwar said it was the first time she had heard of someone as young as 14 being sent there.

Israel has maintained a blockade on Gaza for over a decade, which it says is necessary to prevent the Hamas terror group, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction from smuggling in weapons and material used for digging tunnels into Israel. Israel and Hamas have fought three wars, which have severely harmed Gaza’s infrastructure, and reconstruction efforts have been slow.

 

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